Golfers should probably get in their last rounds at the Fort Snelling golf course. Last week, Superintendent Jayne Miller presented as part of her recommended 2012 budget the closure of the golf course. It's one of seven that the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board maintains. The closure is estimated to save the park board more than $58,000 next year.
"Of all the changes that we're recommending, closing Fort Snelling [golf course] is probably the most significant," Miller said.
The nine-hole golf course, which is located near the Fort Snelling historic site, has been on the decline for years. In 2009, the course had a negative net income of $56,125. It lost even more last year when it posted a negative net income of $86,464 (which I misreported last week). Below is a list of the number of golf rounds played at the course since the park board has been running it. It shows a decline of about 30 percent over almost 20 years.
At last week's park board meeting, Scott Nelson, golf course operations manager for Fort Snelling and Meadowbrook golf courses, said the course has probably lost money for a decade.
The park board has to pay an annual base rent and 16 percent of gross revenue from the course to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. At the meeting, some of the commissioners asked if it was even possible to close the course because of the lease agreement the park board has with the DNR.
Larry Peterson, development and real estate manager for DNR's division of parks and trails, said, that the DNR hasn't been contacted to discuss the possible closure, but, he said, "We've always indicated that we'll listen to ideas." A lease for the golf course was signed with the park board in 2001, and that's not supposed to be terminated until the end of 2030, he said.
The board also entered into a powers agreement with Hennepin County, the DNR, Veteran’s Affairs, the National Park Service and the Minnesota Historical Society for possible redevelopment of the Fort Snelling Upper Bluff. Part of the course has been studied by the Minnesota National Air Guard Foundation for potential future use as the Minnesota Air and Space Museum.
Earlier this month, my colleague Jim Adams reported that Fort Snelling added disc golf to its course this year to try to help revenues.