Montgomery County Council Names 17 to Sligo Creek Golf Course Task Force
Community Leaders, Golfers, Recreation Advisors Will
Study Options for Future of Silver Spring Course
ROCKVILLE, Md., October 6, 2009—The Montgomery County Council today named 17 members to a task force that over the next few months will attempt to devise a plan that would lead to the self-sustainability of Sligo Creek Golf Course in Silver Spring. Tedi Osias, a Council designee, will head the task force that must submit a report to the Council by Jan. 19.
On Sept. 29, the Council voted 7-2 to approve a $150,000 appropriation to keep the nine-hole golf course in operation until June 30, 2010—the end of the County’s Fiscal Year 2010. Without the special appropriation, the course was scheduled to close on Oct. 1. The Council also voted that day to form the task force with the charge of formulating an implementation plan to keep the course open—or identify and justify ongoing costs that might lead to an alternative long-term plan.
Sligo Creek Golf Course is a 65-acre, nine-hole golf course located inside the Beltway in Sligo Creek Park. The course has been in operation since 1927 and became the County's first public course in 1946. The vast majority of Sligo Creek Golf Course users are County residents and more than half are 50 and older. Beginning golfers and youth also utilize the course to learn the game of golf.
Named to the task force today were: Jeff Zyontz, an attorney on the Council staff; Diane Schwartz-Jones of the County Executive’s staff; Mary Bradford of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Department of Parks; Keith Miller, director of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority; Jerry Godwin of the County Commission on Veterans Affairs; Wilbert Forbes of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs; Karen Howland of the Sligo Creek Golf Association; Bruce Sidwell of Friends of Sligo Creek; Michael Welsh of the North Hills of Sligo Creek Civic Association; Woody Brosnan of the Presidents’ Council of Silver Spring Civic Associations; Laura Sildon of First Tee of Montgomery County; Ramon Padilla of the Salute Military Golf Association; Carmen Maymi of the Sligo Ladies Golf League; Merrill Goozner of the Woodside Forest Civic Association; Donna Bartko of the Mid-County Recreation Advisory Board; and David Bushnell.
The task force will review course revenues, usage rates and fees. It also will evaluate the costs associated with operation and management and identify essential capital improvements required to keep the course operation over the next five years. It will evaluate what similar jurisdictions have done to manage public golf courses, recommend potential public-private partnerships that would make the course financially viable and will recommend possible enhancements that may be necessary to make the course financially viable without significant impact on the neighboring community.
Several options have been discussed by Councilmembers on how to save the golf course, including one proposed by Councilmember Valerie Ervin—whose district includes Silver Spring—to develop a public-private partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs at the federal or state level, and with non-profit organizations. Those partnerships could lead to development of the course as part of recreational opportunities for veterans. The goal would be to provide therapeutic golf to veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"While we all recognize these difficult economic times, I'm confident that members of this Council Task Force will think of innovative ways we can keep the course operational without unduly burdening taxpayers," said Councilmember Ervin. "I look forward to working with this group as they develop their recommendations. I also want to thank the Sligo Creek Golf Course association for their advocacy and support for saving the course."