I addressed the Highland Park City Council regarding the $604,000 reduction in net assets resulting from losses at the city-owned Highland Park Country Club which includes its golf operations. Because it is losing so much money and has been for years, it doesn’t seem right to also be encouraging the development of a competing golf course operating at Fort Sheridan Forest Preserve. Yet that is exactly the position of the City based on a very strongly worded policy adopted about a year ago. A golf consultant has stated that the proposed Fort Sheridan course will cannibalize 5% to 10% of the rounds of golf from the City-operated course.
The reason for my City Council appearance was the adoption of the 2009 Annual Comprehensive Financial Report at the June 28, 2010 meeting. What I encountered was a buzz saw of defensiveness and back pedaling. It was not a pretty sight and I have it here to share with you.
I arrived at the City Council meeting prepared to deliver a short 3 minute presentation. But even this was still too long for Mayor Belsky who interrupted me in about a minute and a half. The mayor claimed incorrectly I was misinterpreting the numbers on the statement. Other council people chimed in attempting to explain away this incredible and ongoing financial loss even to the point of denying they were supporting the Fort Sheridan golf course which they have already voted to support.
While I can explain what happened but I encourage you to take 8 minutes and watch it yourself. In the end, the facts remain: the City of Highland Park and the Park District of Highland Park have lost millions of dollars on their golf operations. The City has no business encouraging the development of yet another municipal golf course in a saturated golf market amidst declining demand. What is there not to get?
Watch the video: