The Mount Prospect Golf Course is set for a significant renovation after leaders of the Mount Prospect Park District on Wednesday night approved a plan for $7.1 million in improvements.
As designed, the plan will bring the golf course a new irrigation system, an expanded driving range, improved drainage and various changes to individual holes.
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The $7.1 million in improvements approved at Wednesday's long and occasionally cantankerous park board meeting don't represent the entire cost of the project. Additional costs, for items like architect fees, engineering fees and contingencies, will bring the total price tag to an estimated $8.47 million.
Before voting on the renovations, the park board approved ordinances that will allow the district to borrow $9 million to fund the project. Park District Executive Director Greg Kuhs said the district will not have to raise property taxes to pay back the debt.
Commissioner Bill Starr acknowledged the high cost of the plan, but he said it will solve many existing problems at the course, like the fact that the current driving range is unsafe and too small. Taking action now, he said, makes long-term sense.
"We can't just sit here and wait for things to happen," he said.
Commissioner Sue Walsh, the only board member to vote against the renovations, said the plan was too expensive. She said she'd be more comfortable with a smaller project that primarily addressed irrigation and drainage.
Walsh also objected to the way the plan had been changed over time.
"Changes have been made with no board input," she said. "We're just rubber-stamping what staff recommends."
Wednesday's vote caps years of board discussion about what should be done with the aging but highly regarded community golf course. In recent months, park district officials were frustrated by bid totals that came in significantly higher than previous estimates had suggested.
The board considered a modified plan that called for fewer renovations, but that option would require the park district to start the permitting process over, which would delay construction until 2015, officials said. By that time, construction and engineering costs would most likely be higher.
"We were in a tough spot," Commissioner Bill Klicka said.
Golf: Commissioner Sue Walsh voted against renovations