Indy Could Slice City-Run Golf Courses

Councilman Proposes Selling Off 12 Courses

A City-Council councilor is pushing for Indianapolis to get out of the golf business.

Councilman Ed Coleman has proposed the city sell off 12 of its public courses, with the exception of Eagle Creek, 6News' Derrik Thomas reported.

"Most of our golf courses currently aren't making money, and the ones that are aren't making much," Coleman said. "In economic times like these, we should look into whether we should be in the golf business or not."

But city officials said they would rather not sell off the courses, just find outside vendors to run them more efficiently. The Indy Parks and Recreation Department has already asked private companies to submit proposals to operate the courses.

"We'll get innovative ideas and better revenue generation for the city, as well as capital improvements that are needed on the golf courses, so they'll be better for the citizens of Indianapolis," said Kristen Tusing, an enterprise development analyst for the city.

Last year, the golf courses racked up about 400,000 rounds and made about $1.2 million. But city officials said that money was funneled back into the courses in the form of capital improvements.

Some golfers said they were wary about where profits would go if the courses are sold off or not run by the city.

"What they are going to do is probably turn it over to the Capital Improvement Board, and you see what they did with the money," said Melvin Winzenread, referring to the organization's expected $47 million operating deficit.

Others said they like the way the courses are handled now.

"I'm very satisfied with the courses and the way they are maintained," said Jerry Goldstone, who often plays at Riverside Golf Course. "I have to keep an open mind. They have a lot of good public courses. It is very good value received."

Coleman's proposal will go before the City-County Council's Indy Parks committee on Thursday.