TUCSON, Ariz. — Tucson leaders are considering several options about the future of city-owned golf courses.
The Tucson City Council has begun the process of taking public input on other possible uses for Silverbell, El Rio and Fred Enke golf courses as well as two other 18-hole Randolph golf courses next to Reid Park.
The ideas range from redevelopment, including business and residential, to creating other recreational uses for the courses, with the closure of at least one or more of the courses possible for the plans to move forward, the Arizona Daily Star reported (http://bit.ly/2vTbGwF ).
The city put a restriction in place in 1925 that the land at Randolph Park is “forever dedicated as and for a municipal golf course and public park” making a decision for the city to completely hang up its clubs highly improbable. Also, the two courses are popular and profitable — unlike the other courses.
The other three city-owned courses also have some challenges when thinking of redevelopment plans, including restrictions on the properties tied to the federal funding that helped build the Fred Enke and Silverbell courses.
But the city appears more likely to eventually make changes at those two courses and El Rio — with the Silverbell property the most likely to undergo a dramatic change the soonest.
City Manager Mike Ortega outlined in a 10-page memo to council members that the city has worked to reduce operational expenses and increase revenues by handing off the day-to-day golf operations to a private management company.
“We know the face of golf is changing and rather than reacting to what appears to be part of the national trend of a reduction of rounds of golf played, I would like to look at this as an opportunity to chart a path forward,” he said.
The competition for golfers with nine private, six semiprivate, 15 public, nine resorts and one course on Davis-Monthan Air Force Base suggests there are more courses than the community needs.