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Watertown council to be presented with promising golf course numbers

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City Council will be presented with promising numbers from the Thompson Park Golf Course season during its meeting on Monday night at City Hall.

Council’s agenda shows that nearly 170 total season passes have been sold, which includes family passes and senior couples.

Total revenue shows the golf course already bringing in $236,472. City staff initially anticipated $164,150 in revenue.

“Doing better than what I expected,” said course manager Jordan Northrop.

Northrop said he believes numbers are higher than what were initially thought because the course is in “excellent condition” and the price is lower than it has been in the past.

He also said changing the name from “golf club” to “golf course” is also a difference.

“By changing the name from golf club to golf course and changing it from a membership to a season pass, people know it is a public golf course and that the public is welcome,” he said.

As far as usage, the golf course is reporting there have been 6,332 rounds of golf played, 2,594 season passholder rounds, 3,738 greens fees paid with city residents purchasing 67% of the greens fees, 326 tournament golfers and 4,915 cart rentals.

Having a recognizable name like Spokes restaurant be at the golf course, although not operating the clubhouse up until Thursday, has also been a draw, Northrop said.

“I think moving forward, it’ll help,” he said. “It’s a pretty well-known locally owned restaurant, so it’ll help bring people up here that normally wouldn’t come up here.”

Spokes on the Green opened its clubhouse up Thursday. Previously, Spokes has been operating out of the event tent since May.

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Watertown’s Thompson Park Golf Course readies for Monday opening

in Local News 185 views

The newly acquired Thompson Park Golf Course is just about ready for what is being called a soft opening on Monday.

Course manager Jordan Northrop said Tuesday that he’s putting together the final details to get the golf course open this season, the first year that the city owns and operates the 18-hole course.

“Things are coming together,” he said. “Just working on some final things and just excited.”

The golf course is now selling 2023 season passes.

Weather permitting, the course is scheduled to open to the public at 8 a.m. Monday.

Mr. Northrop acknowledged that Monday may not be ideal weather for golf with temperatures in the 50s, but that won’t deter golfers from being out that day.

“We’ll be open,” he said.

Food and beverages will be provided by Spokes on the Green soon after. Spokes hopes for a soft opening of the clubhouse operations by the middle of next month.

To purchase a season pass, reserve a tee time or to view the fee schedule, visit: www.watertown-ny.gov/golf.

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Council approves Spokes as clubhouse vendor for Thompson Park Golf Course

in Place 245 views

Plans to open the newly acquired golf course at Thompson Park got a major boost Monday night when the City Council finalized a deal for Spokes to run the facility’s clubhouse.

In a unanimous vote, council members approved a one-year agreement with the owner of Spokes Craft Beer and Tapas, the popular restaurant on Public Square, to serve food and beverages in the Thompson Park Golf Course’s clubhouse.

Spokes owner Jamie Danielson said that Spokes is just about ready to run the Thompson Park Golf Course clubhouse.

“This is the next big step,” she said about council’s action on Monday night. “We just want to get in there and make it over.”

According to the agreement, Spokes will pay $1 to run the clubhouse this season. Spokes was the only bidder.

Council members Sarah V. Compo Pierce, Lisa A. Ruggiero and Cliff G. Olney III said they are glad that Spokes is taking on the venture.

“Spokes has earned a reputation in the community,” Councilwoman Compo Pierce said.

The city still has a May 1 target date to open the Thompson Park Golf Course it purchased in January.

Golfers should learn in the next week about signing up to play at the golf course in the city’s historic park.

The city still has some major electrical repairs to complete before the clubhouse can be used. The electric system in the basement must be replaced. A quote came back indicating that the work will cost more than $35,000.

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Watertown arena deficits compared to golf course’s projected operations

in Local News 178 views

The Watertown Municipal Arena has continued to lose money ever since the renovated facility re-opened in 2016, with an operating loss that exceeded $450,000 last year.

City Comptroller James E. Mills acknowledged that the arena — home of hockey organizations, concerts and figure skating shows — will never make money.

In the past seven years, the city ice rink has lost more than $2.4 million.

That doesn’t include the annual debt that the city pays on the cost of renovating the ice rink, City Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero pointed out.

Last year, the city paid $600,000 on the 25-year bond it owes, she said. With the operating losses, that totals about $1 million for the year.

The city also uses its occupancy hotel tax that it gets every year to help pay down on the arena’s debt. Since 2017, the city has applied $1.3 million of its bed tax money to pay toward the facility’s debt.

After a series of costly change orders, the arena renovations ended up costing $10.8 million, with the city still owing about $8 million on the project. At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councilwoman Ruggiero brought up the amount of money that the arena loses to make a point about the recent purchase of the Watertown Golf Club for $3.4 million from owner Michael E. Lundy.

With the negative publicity surrounding the purchase golf course, Councilwoman Ruggiero thought “it was interesting to point out” how much the arena has been in the black since its opening seven years ago.

She’s been criticized for voting for the golf club purchase because of its cost.

In comparing the $1 million deficit for the arena, the golf course is projected to be $286,000 in the hole for the first two seasons that the city will run it.

“That’s probably three times the amount of the golf course,” she said.

The arena deficit also will be about twice as much than it’s going to cost to run the golf course and operate three pools in the city, she added.

While she believes that the arena was a worthwhile project that provides popular programs for city residents, she said it often costs money to offer those kinds of amenities to city residents.

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