Mini golf course in Galesburg possible by 2019The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Ill. — Rebecca Susmarski The Register-Mail, Galesburg, Ill.
Jan. 12--GALESBURG -- Galesburg could see a mini golf course come to town by the fall of 2019 or even sooner, should the City Council decide to move forward with the project using some money it set aside in its annual budget.
Ald. Jeremy Karlin, Ward 7, said residents could expect to see completion of such a project by the fall of 2019 if the council agrees to use $300,000 it reserved for an unspecified parks and recreation project in its FY 2018 budget. He believed the city should save the $300,000 for a mini golf course in the FY 2019 budget.
Karlin expected that it could take that much time for the project to come to pass because of the city's bidding process. The city expects to receive the completed parks and recreation master plan in May 2018, and Karlin said by the time the city seeks, receives and evaluates bids for the project, it would be nearing the end of 2018.
City Manager Todd Thompson confirmed that the council could still decide to use the $300,000 for the mini golf course and begin construction this year.
"If a decision on using the funds is delayed and not made until later this year, any project could be postponed until next year to avoid the winter," Thompson said.
The golf course would not take much time to complete, according to early projections. Houseal Lavigne Associates, a Chicago-based consulting firm the city hired to complete the parks and recreation master plan, estimated in a Monday report on the plan's progress that an 18-hole course would take two weeks to build with four staff members, at a cost of $100,000 for materials and $100,000 for installation. A nine-hole course would cost $40,000 and take one week to build in an indoor site area by four staff members.
The firm, however, provided no estimates in terms of how much revenue the city could see from such a project. Tony Oligney-Estill, director of parks and recreation for the city, said he has not yet done a revenue analysis for the project. He added that Houseal Lavigne's estimates did not include the costs of an engineering study, land purchase, utility work or additional amenities, such as bathrooms or concessions, for the project.
"I am sure we would figure out a way to estimate revenue if this project moves forward," Oligney-Estill said. "I just don't know if we would pay for a feasibility study, contact communities comparable to Galesburg with mini golf and see what they revenue and expenses are or some other method."
Last year, the city originally allocated $300,000 in its FY 2018 budget for a mini golf course specifically, but changed the stipulation to an undetermined parks and recreation project. The city made the change so that the council could wait to see the full parks and recreation master plan and decide what to use the money for then.
A mini golf course came back as one of the top choices for new projects in a survey Houseal Lavigne sent out for the master plan, along with a community center and more biking or hiking trails. The $300,000 allotted would not cover a community center, as it could cost more than $1 million to build a new community center or renovate an older building, such as the former Illinois National Guard Armory, for the purpose, Oligney-Estill confirmed. Pritchard said the city could also decide to use the $300,000 for maintenance items that residents said they wanted in the plan, such as renovated bathrooms at Lake Storey or other sites.
"There seems to be quite a number of things people said they're interested in," Pritchard said. "I don't have an opinion yet. ... I think the point of making those decisions hasn't arrived yet."
Karlin believed a mini golf course would make sense for a potential project considering the amount of funding reserved, but respected the council's decision to wait on the process.
"I think the City Council wants the benefit of having this master plan and the Heart & Soul report before it takes on a parks and recreation capital project," Karlin said. "We're going to have these plans and information; why not have them at our disposal before we go forward with the project?"
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