North Platte city officials presented a long list of aged and worn park and recreation facilities during a City Council information session on Oct. 24:
» Aged and obsolete playground equipment.
» Antiquated restroom fixtures and stalls too narrow for wheelchairs.
» Cracks in tennis courts.
» Worn-out dehumidification system and outdated pool at Recreation Center.
» Improvements and repairs needed for Cody Park pool, pool deck and bathhouse
» Old, worn-out backstop at Bill Wood Field ballpark.
» Deteriorated netting at Dowhower Softball Complex.
» Improvements needed for field lighting, scoreboards and concession stands at ballfields.
» Many gaps in the trail system.
Meanwhile, North Platte’s city-owned Iron Eagle Golf Course had annual net operating losses that averaged $212,629 per year during the eight most recent years with audited financial statements. Because of budget shortfalls, the city’s Municipal Golf Course Fund had a deficit balance that had grown to almost $3 million owed to the city’s general fund as of Sept. 30, 2017.
By virtually any measure, the 63 holes of golf available in and near North Platte are far more than the community needs. The trend in annual golf memberships also is down. The four local courses reported total annual memberships of 658 in 2017 and 617 in 2018. While Iron Eagle is owned and operated by the city of North Platte, the three other courses, Lake Maloney, River’s Edge and Indian Meadows, are owned by non-government entities.
We don’t need a public golf course that doesn’t pay taxes competing with tax-paying courses. The volume of play barely supports the three tax-paying courses. Why can’t our City Council and administration see that throwing more money at a losing situation only takes money from other projects that need improvement?
Please encourage your City Council person and the city administration to make better use of taxpayer dollars.