October 18, 2018 Police Blotter

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Part 2: The rules have changed for the Wellington golf course since its heydays of the 1980s

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Thank you for your input. +12 Vote up Vote down Thirsty · 241 weeks ago I do come play in Wellington about once a month from Wichita. I play all the Wichita courses and the Wellington course. It is a pretty decent course for sure. It is pretty much the only reason I ever even come to Wellington anymore. Report Reply 0 replies · active 241 weeks ago +4 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 241 weeks ago $50,000 a year to keep it mowed? I’ll take that job! There’s no mowing service around that wouldn’t jump on a deal like that. So what needs to be done to turn it around and make it profitable? The competition is already in place. Businesses are still tight with their pocket books. And according to the article, fees seem to be about as high as they can go without turning people away. So what needs to be done? Fixing the fairy ring problem won’t turn it around. So something needs to be added to draw people here. But what? Something new. Something unique. Part one of the series mention something about having a kitchen and full bar. Would they be offering food daily? Or would the kitchen simply be used by those that rented the banquet room (also mentioned in Part 1)? A full bar will always attract some people. I’m not a golfer, and probably never will be. But what about a shuttle service during tournament weekends. It’s obvious that those who travel to play the course probably won’t want to stay in most of the local hotels. So that means they’ll be grouping up in hotels outside of Wellington. Why not offer a ride? Is there currently a “beer cart” service? What about a “food cart”? Have they thought about having one of the local restaurants come in and offer food for sale during busy tournaments? Maybe the city could change the laws on golf carts being used on the street. That would force some to rent a cart rather than drive their own to the course. Or how about a cart garage? Build a storage unit type building with individual compartments. Rent them out yearly for people to park their carts in. One issue I have with what Mr. Gill says is the part about 100 families moving out of town if the course closes. That’s akin to all those people that exclaim “if {enter least desirable presidential candidate here} wins the election, I’m moving to Canada!” Puuuullllease! A good friend of mine is a very avid golfer here in town. If it closed, yeah, he’d be upset and I would have to listen to him whine a lot. But he isn’t going to move. There are a lot more things that keep people here. And if the golf course is what literally keeps you here in Wellington, maybe you should pony up some donations to help keep it going! Report Reply 3 replies · active 241 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down Maggie · 241 weeks ago I would like to know the basis for the statement that 100 families would “probably” move out of town if there was no longer a golf course. Report Reply 0 replies · active 241 weeks ago +1 Vote up Vote down faganlover · 241 weeks ago Wellington has a lot of problems to deal with right now. Losing the golf course would be another nail in the coffin. Perhaps stating 100 families would move from Wellington is on the high side, but definitely 50 families would. Further erosion of the tax base that is so desperately needed to keep the city afloat. Report Reply 1 reply · active 241 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down jeff · 241 weeks ago Golf is a toy, not a necessity. Let those who play with the toy PAY for the toy. This city needs to concentrate 100% on how it is going to survive, and return itself to a viable place for *anyone* to live and prosper, let alone “100” families who use the toy so much it is their personal priority for where they live. This city has distressing problems. Big, distressing problems. Golf is not – repeat, n-o-t – a distressing matter to 6,500 people trying to pay their utility bills, eat, and have a roof and a car and raise kids. Report Reply 0 replies · active 241 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Larry · 241 weeks ago The WGC has never been self sufficient. When I was working for the city in the 70’s there was money budgeted for it every year, so I don’t know where they got that a one time it paid for itself. I do put in the same arena at the aquatic center, and Worden Park also and that makes it a quality of life thing. they need to support it and help it back to what it once was. Report Reply 0 replies · active 241 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down jason · 241 weeks ago Well if the golf course cant pay for itself, raise the price to play, no tax dollars should be spent on a extra activity for some folks. If it shuts down let the 50 or 100 people move, because the golf course is not whats keeping them here. Its just an excuse they can use. Are schools are failing but we keep putting money into things that the city shouldn’t be. Report Reply 1 reply · active 241 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Steve Gill was a fixture at the Wellington Golf Club for 29 years.Part 2 of 3-part seriesby James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — To say Steve Gill knows the Wellington Golf course is an under statement. The former golf manager was in charge of the grounds of the course for 29 years — from 1984 to 2012. Even before that, he helped his father Gerald, who was the course manager as Steve was growing up. He took a lot of pride over the years in the course and knew every inch of every green. The Wellington Golf Course is still a fine course, but he has seen some deterioration. There have also been some environmental issues that have caused problems. The course has been owned by the city for years, and there is discussion going on as to what the city’s financial participation should be. Gill hopes the course will return to its high standards, of course, and he said he is available for advice or any information he could give course or city officials. The course itself has been city owned for as long as anyone can remember. It was built in 1919 as a nine-hole course and was changed to an 18-hole course not long after that. There is no talk of changing that arrangement, but there has been a need expressed for continued, or even expanded, financial support from the city. Gill said there has been a change in the landscape over the years, and that is one reason the local course is struggling financially. The course was able to pay for itself through the 1970s and 1980s, and they even built up a nice reserve fund. In the mid 80s the city changed the arrangement from the golf course being part of the general fund to being in an enterprise fund. Gill said in the 70s and 80s the course was a money-making venture — with 35,000 or so rounds of golf being played each year. Wichita companies would have weekends here where they would bring customers for an outing. The landscape changed though, as other courses were built and competition for customers became more intense. Businesses also began cutting back when expenses like golf outings were no longer tax deductible. Those two factors together made the local golf course not as profitable, and the city has had to chip in to help make ends meet. According to city budget numbers, the city of Wellington puts in about $60,000 per year into the golf course. “In the 1980s, the game was growing rapidly,” Gill said. “A lot of facilities were being built but revenues exceeded expenses. But then in the 90s, the area became overbuilt with golf courses and businesses starting to cutback.” While the rounds of golf being played at Wellington were about 35,000 in the 80s, it was down to 22,000 by the time he retired in 2012. “There was a big paradigm shift in the number of rounds played,” Gill said. “More courses were being built with more bells and whistles. People were also not playing as much golf.” Gill hopes the course can be restored to its glory days of the 80s, and he said they seem to have a good plan as far as sales go. But he said there will have to be some money put into the course to even maintain what is there now. “When revenue was going good we bought good used equipment,” Gill said. “The irrigation system was put in about 1993 and it is aging.” Additionally there has always been good public support for the course. It was public support that created the unique greens that adorn the course now. They are raised slightly, which was popular when they were put in about 1960 which were converted from sand greens. It was a huge undertaking, but Wellington’s course became one of the most coveted in south-central Kansas. Gill said this makes it unique in the area and it makes it a bit challenging. It is a short course as far as yardage is concerned. But the raised greens made it more interesting to play. Gill always liked the fact that all kinds of people used the course. Golf is often associated with more wealthy people, but there have always been people from all economic levels playing at the course here. The course also has a lot of trees compared to other courses, and many of those were planted by Gerald Gill.•••••The golf’s future But now the course has reached another turning point. Gill sees the condition deteriorating, going from great to good. He believes the city will have to continue supporting the course for it to remain competitive. There are still a good number of people coming from out of town to play and it is popular with people in Wichita.There are other cities around that support their golf courses. Quail Ridge in Winfield, for instance, was developed around upscale housing and built for that purpose. Ponca City has a nice course that is also supported by the city. Gill said for the course to remain competitive with Quail Ridge, Ponca City and others, it will have to be maintained at a very high level. He used to walk around the course every day and find things to fix, and that is what it takes. The course recently had a problem with Fairy Ring, a fungus that attacks greens, and makes them not as attractive. There are also weeds creeping into the fairways. Gill said some might say the course is a waste of money, but he added that if the golf course were not there it would probably still cost the city $50,000 a year to keep it mowed. And, if the course closed you would probably have 100 families move out of town, lowering the tax base even more. He added that for years the golf course gradually increased its fees, cart rentals and other prices, but eventually you price yourself out of the market if you go too far.Follow us on Twitter.last_img read more