One Step Forward, Two Steps Backward
Last night, University City voted to approve a new driving range facility at Ruth Park. We wrote about this yesterday here at SMI. I was not able to attend the council meeting, as, coincidently enough, the golf tournament I was playing in ran long, but as we shot 11 under as a team, it was well worth it.
As I said yesterday, there are good arguments on both sides, for and against the driving range, but the real disaster is that as part of the vote, the city decided to take control over the golf facility:
Residents who opposed the project extracted some concessions. The council voted Monday in favor of more oversight of the golf course operation and agreed to change it from a privately run operation to a city-run one.
Unbelievable. Cities all across America are selling or leasing their golf courses, including St. Louis, and we move in the other direction. Now the city gets to be responsible for employee pensions and other long-term costs. Just an absolutely terrible decision. U. City would have been much better off working out an agreement for a larger share of the profit if the driving range is a big success, as it well might be. That is very common in public-private partnership agreements, and would have served the city taxpayers well in both the short- and long-term.