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Council approves golf fees

WORTHINGTON -- In a 4-1 vote, the Worthington City Council approved the 2010 Prairie View Golf Links fees at its Monday meeting.

Council members concurred with the lower rates approved by the Golf Advisory Board in hopes of increasing membership as the course faces declining revenues.

According to a city memorandum, the lower fees and incentives for those who pay in full prior to January of 2010 are part of a promotional campaign that has taken flight in light of a recent study that indicated the need for better course marketing.

Though the deadline to receive the "early bird" discount has been moved to Jan. 1, 2010 (it was Feb. 28 in the past), those who commit early will now reduce their membership rates by as much as $100.

"The board thought this would be a way of getting people out there," explained Prairie View manager Alice Hoffman. "I think that these rates would be part of a marketing plan."

"We'll know by the end of the year whether that part of it worked or not," said Mayor Alan Oberloh in reference to the "early bird" special.

"If that doesn't bolster our numbers, then we'll know it's not a price issue," added Alderman Lyle Ten Haken.

Alderman Mike Kuhle, in registering a vote against the new fees, said course advertising was more important than rate reduction. The study did not indicate that Prairie View's fees were abnormally high, he added.

"We've put a quality product out there," he said. "I just don't think we need to lower our fees. I think we need to do what the study asked us to do and market."

"We've lost members to (other area courses) because we've been higher," responded Alderman Ron Wood.

Among other changes was the addition of a senior category, offering rates as low as $250 for those more than 70 years of age. The annual cart rental fee was lowered to $350 plus tax, and the annual cart storage fees were increased to include a trail fee. Daily cart rental fees were also decreased, while driving range fees and daily fees remained about the same.

Annual rates for new members were cut in half, with an "early bird" family fee costing $375 plus tax, compared to $685 last year. The annual rates for existing members were also reduced, with an individual pass ranging from $450 to $550 plus tax, down from $585 to $603 last year.

A junior category, intended for students younger than 22 who live at home, would range from $50 to $100 annually.

The rates met with approval from John Vallerie, the Effective Golf Systems Inc. consultant who completed the study on the course. For a full listing of the new rates, contact Prairie View Golf Links.

In other business, the council on Monday:

- Received and approved a report about the Southwest Minnesota Housing Study from Steven Griesert of Community Partners Research Inc. The study analyzed the housing needs and conditions in Jackson, Pipestone, Redwood Falls and Worthington. For more information about the study and the council's response, see Thursday's Daily Globe.

- Approved modifications to the position guidelines for the Retail Clerk Supervisor at the Worthington Municipal Liquor Store.

- Renewed an agreement with the Minnesota Department of Transportation, Office of Aeronautics, to receive state aid for eligible costs incurred for the maintenance of the municipal airport beginning in fiscal years 2010 and 2011.

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