With golf season steadily approaching, both Hidden Valley Golf Course and its patrons received some good news during Monday’s Delaware City Council meeting. By a vote of 6-1 in favor, council moved to allow the sale of beer at the course, despite it being owned by the Parks and Natural Resources Department and considered a city park.
Council member George Hellinger, who voiced his concerns about allowing alcohol in a city park during the first reading of the ordinance on March 12, was the lone member to vote no.
The addition of beer sales is part of a plan for sustainability that was laid out for the course in early 2017 by a newly-formed interest group made up of both citizens and city staff who were invested in improving the course.
Lee Yoakum, public affairs coordinator for the City of Delaware, sees it as both a boost for Hidden Valley and an opportunity for local brewers.
“It is estimated that beer sales will increase golf course revenues by $5,000 to $8,000 after the first year,” Yoakum said. “The city will look into engaging some of our local microbrewers to see if they have an interest in providing product.”
For a course that has faced declining revenue for years, losing an estimated $15,000 per year, the boost in revenue is critical for the sustainability and outlook at Hidden Valley.
The nine-hole, par-28 course is no stranger to changes, having undergone significant renovations in 2016 that totaled in the range of $50,000. Among the improvements were several upgrades to the clubhouse and better storage for carts and lawn equipment.
As it is currently written, the ordinance only allows for the sale of beer. Should council decide that other types of alcohol would be appropriate, the language of the ordinance is broad enough to allow for it.
In addition to the introduction of beer sales, Hidden Valley is also utilizing seasonal staff as much as possible, as well as reviewing sponsorships to help offset material costs and generate revenue.
Fees were raised last year as a means of revenue generation, but Yoakum said there are no current plans to raise them in 2018.
Because it is an emergency clause, the ordinance goes into effect immediately. However, Hidden Valley will need to go through the proper permit processing, which can take upwards of 12 weeks. Yoakum added that all staff must be trained properly before the sales will begin.
With the course set to open on April 1, it would appear golfers will have to wait a little longer —perhaps just in time for the heat of summer — to enjoy a cold one at Hidden Valley’s executive course.
Contact Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him @ddavis_Gazette.