Updated: May 4, 2021
City Hall will soon be flush with stimulus and rescue cash, $60 million dollars, which is almost 2 years worth of Duluth's annual property tax levy. Consider, in 2020 the property tax levy generated $33 million dollars. Why can't we use some of it to open Lester Park for the season. We always have money for the annual rebuild of Lake Walk, Spirit Mountain , the Zoo, the Aquarium, and the DECC. This is the time to give back to the community and open Lester Park. You can expect a lot of whining and lamenting that the demand for the windfall money is so great its' already spent. We would hope there could be some public discussion about how this generous gift will be used to benefit residents/taxpayers. Wouldn't it be good to spend some of it on a public facility that generates income/revenue. Bring Duluthians back to Duluth. Why would you force your residents, property owners and taxpayers to travel to other cities like Two Harbors, Cloquet, and Superior for recreation?
Pushing all the play to Enger is counter productive, no one enjoys an overcrowded golf course, revenue will suffer, more ammunition for city hall. It was reckless to close Lester in 2020 and put the golfing public and workers at risk by overcrowding Enger. We were fortunate to avoid any outbreaks like our neighbors in Superior. Don't do it again, its not worth the risk.
The City has mismanaged Enger and Lester for decades. Golf in Duluth reflects the weather, cold, windy and rainey weather keeps golfers away and revenues decline. The City always subsidized golf operations, but now with so many city owned attractions requiring taxpayer subsidies, the Larson Administration can't find the money to support golf operations. If Mayor Larson needs help making the required appropriation it's because she wants golf to fail in Duluth. The City hired a consultant to review golf operations and recommend positive actions to better manage the resources. None of the recommended actions were acted on by the City. The "Friends of Duluth Golf", made many positive recommendations to improve golf operations to the Mayor. None of their recommendations were acted on by the Larson Administration.
Our golf courses are priceless urban open spaces for seasonal recreation, they are places where generations and races together to pursue their passion for a game. They are places where neighborhoods come together for recreation, fund raising and giving to community and neighbors during times of need. They are woven into the environmental and social fabric of the community. They are not for sale.