January 14, 2015 – A local golf association is miffed at a proposal that would allow wintertime activities like cross-country skiing at city-owned Meadowbrook Golf Course in southwest Rapid City.
The city’s Public Works Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to discuss the proposal with the full 10-member Rapid City Council during its Tuesday meeting.
Several residents requested the added recreational options, causing the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board in December to begin a formal discussion on the matter, according to city Recreation Manager Doug Lowe.
The golfers, meanwhile, fear that winter recreational activities will effectively destroy the course and say that anyone using the grounds should have to pony up leisure-time fees.
“No freebies,” Craig Weber, committee member of the Meadowbrook Golfers Association, said. “If you approve this, how are you going to control it? It’s just not correct to let them out there.”
The discussion centered first on allowing only cross-country skiing and the use of a special snow-worthy mountain bike, a “Fat-Bike,” in certain areas of the course, namely away from the greens and tee areas and mostly during the off-season.
But a handful of golfers who attended the Tuesday meeting shook their heads when the committee decided to consider all winter recreational activities on the golf course.
Committee member Brad Estes said he applauded the idea of taking an existing seasonal facility and making it useful year-round. Estes said claims of damage from activities that rely on snow pack are seemingly unfounded.
“Obviously, your not going to cross-country ski when there’s no snow pack,” he said.
The opponents didn’t buy it.
Tom Johnson said he joined the golfers association to bring Meadowbrook back to its glory days as one of the nation’s top 75 municipal golf courses, adding that the course could even be listed as the best course in town.
“I think we can improve Meadowbrook and improve that stature,” Johnson said. “There is really no positive impact … that this activity would have to the golf course. Therefore, I’m against allowing this.”
Weber said he pays more than $900 annually to play golf there for about nine months a year. His points were simple: Don’t allow it, but if the city does, those re-creating in a winter fashion should have to pay at least $100 a month to use the course.
Others questioned whether there was enough snow.
“The snow base is just not there,” Mark Magbuhat, also a Meadowbrook Golfers Association committee member, said. “There are alternatives for these so-called cross-country skiers.
“There’s trails up north we send our skiers, we send our snowboarders,” he added. “We send everybody up north were it stays nice and cold, and the snow stays a little bit longer than in Rapid City.”
He said the golfers association should have a say on the matter because the golfers’ fees operate the course and keep it maintained.
Magbuhat said input is especially needed given a potential for damage of the course.
“It’s a pay-for-use facility,” he said. “Even with the signs that are posted on the edge of the golf course that say no walkers, no dogs, no nothing. You still see them out there, and we have to chase them off.”
At least one meeting attendee, however, begged to differ.
Judith Kennedy said the said fees only cover the “copious amounts of water and maintenance” that the course needs during the summer, adding that the fees don’t make golfers the sole benefactors of the public grounds.
“The skiers are noted for not doing damage,” Kennedy, a season pass holder at Terry Peak Ski Area near Lead, said. “It would seem to me as ludicrous to assume that when I can’t be skiing at Terry Peak, that I should preclude any hiker or biker from using those trails in the summer.”