Budget cuts may force golf course closure

May 18, 2010 3:48:17 PM PDT
At a time when the city is making big financial sacrifices in just about every department, one community is learning their golf course may be on the chopping block.

No money was in the budget this year for Brock Park Golf Course in northeast Houston.

On one hand, city officials must find a way to trim the budget, while saving money for the essentials, like the Houston fire and police departments. But on the other hand, some believe that doing away with this golf course could have bigger implications.

There's a reason why Anthony Warren volunteers almost every day at Brock Park.

"It's all about passion," Warren said. "I love the people."

That's why when he heard the city may be shutting the place down, his heart dropped.

"It's all that we have on this side of town," Warren said.

Brock Park sits in the heart of northeast Houston, a primarily middle-income neighborhood surrounded by a few modest homes.

It's that reason some neighbors say closing the course would be a huge mistake.

"I grew up here, and shutting down that golf course down would mean devastation to me, the community and everybody," neighbor Steven Lamb said.

But over the years city officials say the golf course simply hasn't brought in the dollars.

Now, facing a budget shortfall, Houston City Council will have to decide if it's worth it to keep the golf course open.

"Unfortunately, there's times when we have to make some hard decisions, and this may be one of them," Councilwoman Brenda Stardig said.

Compared to other municipal golf courses, Brock Park certainly isn't the only one losing money. However, its $350,000 loss last year was the biggest shortfall. The only golf course which made any money was Memorial.

Still, Council Member Jarvis Johnson, who fought to save Brock Park last year, is convinced cutting here isn't the way to go.

"We shouldn't tighten our belts so much that we're damaging communities, to where we will do irreparable damage," he said.

The park sits in Johnson's district. He believes he can get support to keep it open. However, some council members may have a hard time justifying funding the golf course when so many other things need money this year.

Officials believe the golf course is losing money because not enough people in the area are going out to that golf course to support it. However, residents in that area say plenty of people go, so they're still questioning whether the shortfall is even accurate.

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