Elk Grove Park District plans $10 million golf clubhouse, maintenance building
The Elk Grove Park District could spend up to $10 million to replace its aging Fox Run Golf Links clubhouse and maintenance buildings in a project at least a decade in the making.
"We have a facility that we have to maintain as a part of our obligation," Commissioner Tom Cooke said of the 35-year-old golf clubhouse at a recent park board meeting. "If we decide to be in that business and to continue to provide that service, we have to maintain those facilities."
Fox Run, the 18-hole course located along Plum Grove Road on Elk Grove's west side, last had a clubhouse renovation to add a separate bar and pro shop area in 2009. Two years later, the district spent $2.5 million to reconstruct course irrigation and drainage systems, and install new sand traps.
But what prompted a larger scale building upgrade -- wherein the octagon-shaped clubhouse and adjoining maintenance building would be torn down and replaced on the same footprint -- is primarily the aging maintenance facility, which officials have talked about upgrading for the last 10 to 15 years. They say it's become too small to store all of the course's golf carts and other equipment.
"The equipment they need now is so much larger than what they could get away with 20 years ago," park board President John Walz said. "They're running out of space."
The board considered just replacing the maintenance building, but since the clubhouse needed at least $1 million in upgrades to its roof, windows, fixtures and heating and cooling systems, commissioners determined it would be more efficient to replace both buildings.
The new clubhouse, which is still being designed by park district-hired architects, would be a square-shaped building with a bar, video gambling area, golf simulators, and party rooms available to rent. Officials say it would be a more efficient layout, and have room for more people -- from 150 to more than 200.
The district has budgeted $8 million to $10 million, of which it plans to borrow $6.5 million through a bond issue. Officials are also seeking a $1 million state grant to help defray costs.
Shovels could be in the ground as early as this fall -- but the course wouldn't have to shut down -- and golfers would still be able to check in and buy snacks and drinks in a temporary mobile clubhouse, according to Ben Curcio, the district's executive director.
The district also may be able to temporarily locate its video gambling machines there, but would need additional approvals to do so.
Gary Buczkowski, an Elk Grove resident who served as the district's superintendent of park and planning from 1979 to 1999, questioned whether the teardown and rebuild was worth the cost. That's in light of what he expects to be a rising tax bill due to an increase in assessments.
"I'm not saying what you're doing is wrong," he told the board during a Jan. 9 meeting. "I'm just saying it seems like the return on investment is going to be questionable and do you need to spend all that money."
Board members said they've deferred the Fox Run project, while golf facilities in nearby park districts have been improved.
"We are being stewards of everybody else's money," Walz said. "We feel we have to do it."