It appears we are in for a period of due diligence while the Board of the Lake County Forest Preserves seeks to find a resolution to the Fort Sheridan golf course conundrum. I suppose I have to respect this slow and deliberative effort to find consensus. One can argue that this is, indeed, the American way.
But I’m impatient. And then, of course, there is the elephant in the room. This elephant is the results of the 6/30 fiscal year end which saw the LCFPD Brae Loch golf course post a $98,000 operating loss. And not its first one. The Daily Herald reports that, “Golf course performance was the main reason the district’s revenue producing facilities, which include Independence Grove Forest Preserve and the Fox River marina, took in 43 percent less in 2008-09 than the year before.” (And down again from the year before that, etc.) Golf rounds are down 3%.
Yet, in this almost decade-long golf performance downward spiral, the LCFPD continues to try to find ways to move forward with a new golf course. But wait, its not the LCFPD that’s driving this train alone. Placing a hand on the wheel are the communities of Lake Forest, Highwood and Highland Park and their various political jurisdictions including both city government and park districts.
The County is convening a council of these invested parties to hash things out, find political cover, and maybe develop a creative solution. Let them talk. In the end, they will have to confront the flawed policy that (we understand) dictated land use be devoted to a specific sport in perpetuity.
Anyway, its time to clean up this mess and these errors. Let’s open the floor to entertaining thoughts regarding the proper use of this land consistent with the law that provided it. The only consideration required by this law was “to ensure the continued protection and enhancement of the open spaces of Fort Sheridan” We should be able to do this without piling on to the operating losses already burdening the County revenue producing assets.