Page Belcher to Remain Open

The city of Tulsa will no longer seek to close 18 holes at Page Belcher Golf Course and nine holes at Mohawk Park Golf Course, according to Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor.
Instead, the city will begin putting together a request for proposal and take bids from independent course operators to run the city-owned courses.
The proposed closings were announced in early May when Taylor released her 2007-08 fiscal year budget. At the time she said the city was subsidizing its two 36-hole golf properties by more than $1.5 million annually.
“While I do believe that it is not the best core competency for the city to operate golf courses, after much discussion with residents concerned about their home values, golfers and other interested parties, I also believe the courses should stay open,” Taylor said. “We’re looking at some of the best practice models of individual private operators and working on drafting an RFP. And we’re also looking at finding a way to keep those courses open until we can get that done.”
Tulsa City Councilor Rick Westcott, whose district encompasses Page Belcher, said he and the homeowners whose houses border either the Stone Creek or Olde Page courses were pleased with the development. Westscott has been working with homeowners, private course contractors and others to find an alternative to closing the courses. An open meeting is scheduled with Taylor, Westcott, homeowners and golfers at Page Belcher June 6 at 6 p.m. at Page Belcher.
“I am very pleased,” Westcott said. “This will be a win-win for the golfers and for the city.”
Currently, superintendent Tim Thornton and all maintenance workers at Page Belcher and Mohawk Park are city employees. All other employees work for George Glenn, who contracts with the city to run the courses, pro shops, restaurants and driving ranges.
Taylor said she and Westcott will meet Thursday to begin detailed discussions and she hoped the RFP would be prepared within 30 days and proposals could be accepted and perhaps a decision made on an operator within 120 days.
They will also discuss how to fund the golf courses in the interim by adjusting the proposed budget. Glenn has a contract with the city through 2009. He could not be reached for comment this afternoon.
Thornton said he had lost three employees at Page Belcher and three at Mohawk Park since the Mayor’s original announcement, leaving just 12 full-time maintenance employees at Page Belcher.
In addition to seeking bids from private course operators, Taylor said she would maintain a dialog with Tulsa County, which operates the LaFortune Park and South Lakes public courses. Tulsa County Commissioner Randi Miller, whose house borders a fairway at Page Belcher, had asked county parks director Richard Bales to begin a detailed review of how the county could assist the city by possibly assuming operations of the two courses or working toward forming a city-county trust to operate the courses.

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