Revenues, rates and hours of operation were the focus of the first ever meeting for the Hidden Valley Golf Course Working Group.
The city has owned the nine-hole, par-28 course, 580 W. William St., since 1974 and invested $50,000 during the off-season before it re-opened in March — the first major renovations in decades to the course.
The city’s goal for the course is not to be profitable, said Parks and Natural Resources Director Ted Miller, but to provide a value service to the community.
He hopes the working group will be able to address several issues concerning the course’s financial health and waning interests among younger generations.
For instance, the 42nd Annual Little Brown Jug Junior Golf Classic tournament, for ages 7 to 17, did not take place this year. Miller said the group can discuss ways to bring the event back.
Additionally, course expenditures have outweighed revenues since 2014, which started with a fund balance of $105,213 but ended that year at $92,021.
For the proposed 2017 budget, the course is expected to have $173,700 in revenue with $200,014 in expenditures and a fund balance of $38,786 as of Dec. 31, 2017.
Rate increases were discussed at the meeting but members preferred to consider better marketing strategies to increase turnout. There’s also the possibility of selling alcohol at the course if Delaware City Council gives the OK.
The group formally recommended that adult rates for playing all nine holes will remain at $8.50 and $8 for seniors on the weekdays — plus a $1-increase for the weekends. But to encourage more students to participate, the group recommended that students, ages 13 to 22, can play for $7, while students 12 and under can play for $5 on the weekdays.
Additionally, the group recommended that memberships would guarantee the course to be open from April 1 to Oct. 31 but will be honored if the course is open in March or November depending on the weather.
Recommendations from the group will need Parks and Recreation Advisory Board approval before council consideration.
The group is expected to meet on a Wednesday each month and the next meeting is scheduled at the course 7 p.m. Dec. 14.