Delaware’s new parks director will be responsible for Hidden Valley Golf Club and Oak Grove Cemetery, in addition to other duties.
Delaware City Council approved adding those responsibilities for the to-be-hired parks and natural resources director at its meeting on Monday.
The new position, which was included in the city’s 2016 budget, will now be responsible for long-range planning and improving operations and finances at the city-owned Hidden Valley Golf Club and Oak Grove Cemetery.
During budget talks, it was noted that the golf course’s proposed fund balance for 2016 was $54,532; with revenues of $167,500 and expenditures of $194,359. The fund balance would be down from $80,954 in 2015 and $92,021 in 2014.
Council members said they want the golf course to be more self-supporting. Parks superintendent Stacy Davenport said that while membership was down this year from 2014, there were more rounds played. Davenport said the last rate increase was four years ago, and other area nine-hole courses were being compared in terms of fees charged.
Assistant City Manager Jackie Walker and Davenport said the course, at 580 W. William St., needed to be marketed more to young people.
“I think a lot of people don’t know about it,” Walker said. “It’s not expensive to play, and it’s a lot of fun.”
Other comments on the course included making improvements to the clubhouse (which will be done in 2016), having night golf, and alcohol sales.
Oak Grove Cemetery, at 334 S. Sandusky St., was established in 1851 and has more than 20,000 grave markers and monuments. The city began operating the largest cemetery in the county in 2012. City Manager Tom Homan described Oak Grove as “an additional 80-acre park that was thrust upon us.”
The city budget projects revenues of $188,500 and expenditures of $248,540 in 2016; with a fund balance of $44,404. The fund balance in 2014 was $347,537. Staff and council discussed raising prices; having volunteers do more work; establishing an advisory board for the cemetery; using a cemetery consultant; and whether to rent out the house on the property, use it as a post-funeral meeting space, or tearing it down because it needs a lot of work.
Council voted 5-2 for giving the added duties to the parks and natural resources director.
The city last had a parks and recreation director in 2009. In recent years, the YMCA has been responsible for the city’s recreational programs, and Davenport has overseen the parks.
“I’m everything right now,” Davenport said. “My plate’s a little full. (Hiring a director will) let me focus on the day-to-day operations.”
Council is expected to approve a final budget at its meeting on Dec. 21.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.