Today, The City of Dayton announced the permanent closure of Kitty Hawk and Madden Golf Centers.
“Of the estimated 20,000 individuals that use City golf courses, fewer than 2,500 are Dayton residents. Subsidizing golf operations for less than 2 percent of the city population would not be a prudent course of action at this critical time,” said Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley. “For some, this might feel like a loss, but we are committed to making sure that the city’s resources are being used in ways that benefit our residents most, particularly our young people and seniors.”
In 2018, the City hired the National Golf Foundation to complete a study of the City of Dayton’s three golf courses. Kitty Hawk, Community, and Madden Golf Centers. The study concluded that the City’s golf courses would require a minimum subsidy of $7.5 million over the next five years. As a result of the new COVID-19 state protocols for golf courses, the City would be required to subsidize golf operations at an estimated $500,000 or more for the 2020 season.
“Making the decision to permanently close these facilities was not easy. However in light of the current health and economic crisis, the City is not in a position to make the necessary capital investments needed to continue operations,” said City Manager Shelley Dickstein. “By making the decision to reduce the size of our golf operations now, we are in a better position to provide needed funding for essential front-line services that aid and protect our residents.”
Community Golf Center will not be effected by the closures and will reopen at a time that is safe for the community. The decision to keep Community Golf Center operational results from its long-term ability to be self-sustainable, and to generate a surplus of revenue. The City is committing that revenue generated by Community will be invested into recreation services. This will be codified in an ordinance that will be before the City Commission in the coming weeks and with a full season next year, the fund could begin to receive revenue in 18 months
Unfortunately, this means the City will reduce golf staff to a number that supports Community Golf Center only. Affected employees will have the ability to participate in the City’s voluntary separation plan.
The closure of these golf facilities is one of many cost-cutting activities the City has implemented. Last month, the City announced dozens of layoffs and slashed expenses at the Dayton International Airport. Additionally, the City has implemented a hiring freeze, limited expenditures to essential services/functions only, slashed General Fund supported departments’ budgets by 18% and shuttered $8 million in capital projects.
City leadership continues to have ongoing conversation with respect to keeping the City’s General Fund solvent, including pay cuts, mandatory cost savings days, voluntary separation plans, and position eliminations. A 2020 budget correction plan detailing all of these actions is currently under development.