Candidates for the Lombard park board say they need to find a way to boost revenues at its Western Acres Golf Course.
The nine-hole course, located in a low-lying area just north of Butterfield Road, commonly floods and consistently lands in the red.
In the course's offseason, the park district cleared and dredged a creek on the east edge of the property. And when Western Acres opens April 1, the course will offer discounted green fees of $11 for the first month.
But some of the seven candidates for four available seats suggest other measures to improve the course's profitability.
"We have a lot of businesses, small businesses and corporations. We should market our golf course for events or corporate outings," said Kim Angland, who's running for a four-year term and a chance to keep the seat she was appointed to in October. Angland said the course's proximity to the I-88 corridor as well as communities including Glen Ellyn and Downers Grove should help it appeal to corporate golfers outside Lombard's borders. And hosting corporate events may bring in the big bucks, she said. Running against Angland for one available four-year term is fourth generation Lombardian Gregory Ludwig. Ludwig said ideas for how to make the golf course more profitable must be considered together with other park district goals.
"I would review all the major programs that we have and the facilities that we have to see how we can improve on them," he said.
In a separate race for two six-year terms, two incumbents face two challengers.
Incumbent Michael Kuderna compared the golf course to most park district pools, which may not generate revenue, but are offered as an amenity.
"It's a service that I think we need," Kuderna said. "The golf course always needs improvement. Unfortunately, it's in a flood plain area."
Challengers Sharon Vish and Peter Nolan applauded the park district for its efforts to avoid future flooding at Western Acres.
"That's a way they're going to attract people to come out," said Nolan.
Vish said the course and its improved grounds should attract community interest.
"I think it's unique that the park district has a golf course," Vish said. "I hope that participation builds and Lombard residents start to utilize it more."
While candidates see the park district's actions lessen the likelihood of flooding as steps in the right direction, Kathleen Hogan, who's seeking a four-year term as an incumbent, said more facility upgrades could help as well.
"Besides the flooding, I have proposed that we look at other area courses that have banquet facilities or driving ranges and determine if adding a similar option at our course would make us profitable," Hogan said in a Daily Herald candidate questionnaire.
David Kundrot is running unopposed for the last available park board seat, a two-year term. The election is April 5.