Falling apart: Officials say Duncan Park Golf Club needs repairs
Published 12:03 am Monday, September 4, 2017
NATCHEZ — Managers of Duncan Park Golf Course are requesting additional funds from the city for what they say are crucial repairs and maintenance of their facilities and equipment.
Golf club superintendent Greg Brooking and bookkeeper David Troutman spoke before the mayor and board of aldermen Friday at a specially called meeting to make their pitch.
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Troutman’s description alluded to a withering facility with outdated equipment.
“You all know the condition of (the pro shop),” Troutman said. “The windows are falling apart, the roof is falling apart — so I figure about $130,000 to maintain that building.”
Adding that figure to what the city originally had planned to budget, the request amounts to $174,000 for repairs and maintenance.
Troutman elaborated on the building’s condition.
“We have buckets in there collecting rainwater. A sink fell off the wall in one of the bathrooms.”
Troutman said he has requested this amount of money from the board for the past three years. Natchez Mayor Darryl Grennell asked Natchez Building Inspector Jody Rutter — who manages the city’s public properties budget — if funds for golf maintenance and repairs is covered under public properties, which Rutter affirmed.
Rutter, however, was not present at the time Troutman stated the amount of money he is requesting for the repairs, and that amount was not mentioned to Rutter before giving his answer.
Following up on Troutman’s presentation, Brooking also brought up the need to replace outdated equipment, specifically mowers.
Brooking said one of his fairway units dates back to 1998, and Troutman told the board two mowers have recently broken down and need replacing.
For that reason, Brooking requested a state-contracted, four-year leasing agreement at $50,000 a year that would replace “every outdated piece of equipment” the golf course currently uses.
Brooking also said he understood finances are “tight,” but what he is asking for is vital for operation.
“It’s getting to the point where the costs of repairs compared to the costs of this lease — it’s inhibitory,” he said.
Despite the request for $50,000 annually to fulfill the leasing agreement, Brooking said he “would really appreciate” even just $900 a month ($10,800) from the city to help replace equipment.
As the board of aldermen’s recreation chair, Ward 1 Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis asked Brooking if he had looked into any grant opportunities to fund the new equipment.
Brooking said he was not well versed in researching grants, but his staff would be exploring opportunities.
Grennell said that he had asked Community Development Director James Johnston seek financial aid.
Arceneaux-Mathis said that she and Brooking “have not been in touch,” and she expressed the desire to come tour the golf facility and look at what work the department needs done.
Before the golf officials concluded their presentation, Troutman also noted that golf received approximately $75,000 in cuts last year amid the city’s struggles to balance a budget, and he hoped the city could offer recompense this coming year.
The golf course is Natchez’s biggest recreational economic driver, bringing in a majority of the city’s revenues among all recreation departments on a yearly basis.