Erie Golf Course is back in the news today, and it's probably a good time for that. Remember, this is the place the city spent $2 million upgrading under the previous administration, and then when the new guys came in, they closed it, despite the $2 million in debt still sitting on the books. Well, despite what it's detractors say, I loved the course, the layout, the bar, the whole place was pretty cool. It was no country club, but for a publinx, it could hold its own.
It now seems the city has offered the golf course to Millcreek in exchange for the land needed to expand the airport runway, which would theoretically run through the current Millcreek Golf Course. Oh, yes, and the City wants the County to take on the $2 million in debt, pay it off with slots/gaming revenue, I guess... Seems like a good plan, but for a couple of details:
1. Millcreek Golf Course is a superfund site, which means its construction was funded because it was built on a toxic waste dump. There is no guarantee that the powers that be will agree to building an airport runway there, although according someone in the know (quoted in the article I linked to), there is a good chance this could be worked around. I'm all in favor of the proposed workaround.
2. Erie Golf Course has been labeled a "money loser." Now, whether you could make money up there or not is open to debate. Yes, it was losing money when the City closed it, but it had also only been open with the redesign for a year and the new holes were still growing in. Millcreek, however, seems to think that if they were to install a $25,000 range, they could make the place profitable. This is interesting, because I've always questioned why a range wasn't included in the original upgrade. I mean if you want to have a first-class course, one that you're investing $2 million in, could you not at least include a range, especially if it only costs $25,000? I'm a bit skeptikal about how realistic the discussed range plan is, but once again it sounds great. The other odd thing is that Millcreek seems reluctant to fund the range, even though they would theoretically be profiting from it.
In conclusion, this plan looks great when discussed on paper; however, this seems to be the case with an inordinate number of other recent failed projects as well.