April 28, 2010

RedGate: Like a "House that is falling apart"

If you’re a duffer in Rockville, you’re probably not going to be happy. The Red Gate golf course may not survive without funding from the city of Rockville as is proposed in the budget for fiscal year 2011, and the revenue from the city’s speed camera project falling short of the budget’s prediction may be to blame. “We are facing a fiscal crisis with Red Gate and it’s like a house that is falling apart,” Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio said. “I would hate to think we are neglecting the course just because we don’t have the money to operate it right this moment.”

“Some of these losses are from the significant lower spending in the speed cam project,” said Burt Hall, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department at Monday’s city council meeting. The department has funded the golf course in the past, giving Red Gate $372,000 in 2005 as part of a five-year business plan meant to rehabilitate the course. Red Gate representatives say their fiscally precarious situation could mean its closing in the near future without continued support from an “enterprise fund.”

“The course has been highlighted as one of the recreational centers in financial straits right now,” said Joe Jordan, the chairman of the Red Gate Advisory Board. Jordan, who calls himself the “one man band” for Red Gate. Parks and Recreation’s fiscal 2012 budget could see a bump of $700,000, some of which could go towards the course, but Jordan fears the course may not survive in the meantime.

“At the end of five years, the course wasn’t supposed to need this money any more,” Hall said. Parks and Recreation’s proposed $11.8 million budget is already $4.5 million less than they had hoped for. The fiscal 2011 budget proposes using the money for asphalt improvements, street landscaping, park enhancements for disabled children, and maintenance.

“Even with these necessary spending decreases, we are looking at a lot less than we are used to,” Hall said. “We just don’t have room in our budget for Red Gate.”

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