TEMPLE — Sammons Golf Links and Summit Family Fitness Center were in the spotlight during a presentation Thursday by Kevin Beavers, Temple’s interim parks and leisure director.
To plan for the long-term future of both facilities, City Manager David Blackburn said it is important to determine the overall strategic goals of both facilities.
“Are they profit centers to be run like a business, are they similar to our parks in how we approach them or are they something else?” he asked. “The philosophy and approach is really important, because it will determine how we plan for and operate those facilities.”
“The Summit is managed by Ron Germann and Sammons is managed by Jeff Ward. They know their mission and are very dedicated to providing the best services for our community,” Beavers said.
In 2007, a city parks bond election authorized spending nearly $569,000 for improvements at Sammons, which included renovating the greens, additional bunkers and rerouting the golf course, Beavers said.
The 2014 fiscal year budget for Sammons is $1.2 million, and the facility has 12 full-time employees.
The Stonetree Golf Course in Killeen has a budget of nearly $1.5 million and has 20 full-time employees, Beavers said.
As for the price of a round of golf, “we aren’t the cheapest, and we aren’t the most expensive,” Beavers said.
Summit’s total budget for FY 2014 is $705,000.
A price comparison for area city-owned courses indicated that the Copperas Cove golf course had the lowest fees, followed by Temple’s Sammons course. Stonetree charged slightly more than Sammons, and Waco’s Cottonwood Creek has the highest rates of those reviewed, Beavers said.
“Historically, we have wanted to be in that middle price range,” Blackburn added.
The largest budget item for Sammons is course maintenance, Beavers said, showing some slides to Council members where work was needed, including on the putting green and making sure the lake doesn’t flood the golf course during heavy rains.
Money could be saved by reducing part-time hours, food and beverage services and maintenance, “but if we start to do those things, it is counterproductive and will start to go into a spiral that will be hard to pull out of,” Blackburn said.
“Probably something I suggested several years ago is that both (Sammons and Summit) compete with private enterprise,” Councilman Russell Schneider said.
“Do taxpayers want to pay for something they may or may not use? I agree we can’t go backward on maintenance and staff.”
“I think we ought to maintain both,” Blackburn said. “I think they are community assets. Some people may not use them, but a lot of people will never set foot on Pepper Creek Trail, Friar’s Creek Trail or Wilson Park, and we maintain those.”
The city should get as close as possible to a 100 percent balance between revenues brought in by the facilities and expenses, Schneider said.
The city also maintains swimming pools “and the fees we charge are nowhere near what it costs to maintain them, but the community wants us to have swimming pools,” Blackburn said. “This is similar.”
Summit, meanwhile, was purchased by the city through a 2001 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Grant “to provide a state of the art community and recreation center” in South Temple, Beavers said.
For the past three years, the facility generated more revenue than expenses, but it is not projected to do so in 2014, Beavers said.
Some members have left, choosing to go to privately owned fitness centers, he said.
One concern the city faces is the condition of the tennis courts, which need renovation. Temple College’s tennis team has used the courts, but the team will be disbanded after this spring.
“Will you lose the tennis courts?” Schneider asked.
“It’s my understanding that Temple College will still use the courts for tennis classes, which will still be a source of revenue,” Blackburn said. “There are challenges with the courts that are not inexpensive to fix.”
Total budget for Summit for 2014 is $705,000.