FUNDING FOR PHASE I OF LADY BIRD MASTER PLAN

City Council approved funding for Phase I renovations at
Lady Bird Golf Course.  The subsequent four
phases detailed in the Master Plan are independent of Phase I; the city is not obligated
to further investment.

Three years of research, hearings and analysis have led to
the broad based consensus that our golf course is not only  a jewel, but a valuable asset that can
significantly improve and support tourism.
Tourism is the biggest economic force in our county:  sales tax receipts provide more revenue to
our city than property taxes.  More than
50% of those sales tax revenues come from visitors.  Hotel occupancy taxes provide additional
millions of dollars used to support local community organizations.

Investing in Lady Bird Golf Course is an investment in the
future of our community.  The golf course
not only provides a quality of life venue for residents as all city parks are
intended to provide, but it is also a draw for business, hiring, and
tourism.  The golf course currently brings
in $1.3 M annually.  Other than the
electric and water departments, no other city department provides this much
revenue.

Even in an economic down turn, Fredericksburg’s proximity to major cities
continues to bring more and more tourists here each year.  Marketing studies show that tourists want
more outdoor activities, especially for men and residents want more outdoor
activities for children.

Fredericksburg
attracts over a million visitors per year.
Approximately 10% of visitors play golf.
Research shows targeted marketing will bring golfers to a reasonably
priced golf attraction, especially when coupled with the other wonderful attractions
we currently have. Throughout Texas,   CVB
data show that visitors who come primarily to play golf spend more than the
average tourist, nearly $1000 per weekend.

Fredericksburgis the second-most popular
wine destination in the United
States.
The most rapidly growing segment of tourism here is the winery visitor and
this demographic group overlaps  the traveling
golfer ideally.

Currently, our golf course supports about 32,000 rounds of
golf per year and according to the USGA can readily handle more .  Additional visitor rounds are only possible
with improvement in the golf experience by bringing the course back up to
market standards. Funding for Phase I provides only for these maintenance
items:  there are no bells and
whistles.  The business plan presented to
City Council suggests that as few as an additional 1300 visitor rounds per year
will allow the golf course to meet all its expenses including repayment of the
loan to the city.

Two mayoral administrations over three years have
affirmatively responded to increasing information concerning the golf
course.  Over the past several years,
City Council has authorized the Friends Of Lady Bird to submit a report each
year on the state of golf in our community with an eye to finding the golf
course’s potential for enhancing tourism.
Based upon that report and the experts, City Council has established the
Department of Golf and hired a new Director, PGA Professional Alan Wooley.  Working with a broad based Strategic Planning
Committee and the city’s golf course architect, Jeff Blume, Mr. Wooley has
developed a Master Plan covering 20 years in five phases. This Master Plan was
unanimously approved by City Council.

The information presented to City Council in support of the
Master Plan for Lady Bird is corroborated by experts and professionals, most of
whom were brought here without taxpayer expense.  These experts include the USGA, PGA, National Golf Foundation, agronomists, golf
course superintendents, several golf course architects and contractors, and the
UTSA Graduate School of Business.

The business plan and funding alternatives have been studied
and endorsed by the presidents of our local banks and  other  local citizens experienced in finance, budgeting,
and marketing.  In addition, the plans
have been discussed in public presentations to the Chamber of Commerce and the
Rotary Clubs.  The City Manager and the
City CFO have endorsed the plan’s conservative assumptions and support the
plan.  According to the city’s financial
consultant, using surplus cash reserves from enterprise funds is consistent
with good fiscal policy, does not adversely affect the bond rating, and does
not strip the funds of necessary cash reserves.
Repaying the city rather than a commercial lender/bond holder saves the
golf course approximately $500,000 in interest.
The city’s general fund remains untouched with current reserves
approximately twice those customarily retained.

Lady Bird Golf Course
has been in the public eye for over three years now.  Multiple Op –Ed articles, Town Hall meetings,
public meetings concerning junior golf and Live Oak Creek as well as many presentations
to city staff and City Council have allowed for unprecedented public
input.  This effort is a model for
intensive and inclusive city planning and is the kind of effort all of us would
wish City Council to use for other issues facing the city.

 

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