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Jones Golf Course closes for the season due to floods

CEDAR RAPIDS — Struggles continue for Jones Golf Course, the worst financial performer of Cedar Rapids’ four municipal courses.

City officials announced on Monday the course has officially closed for the 2018 season. By comparison, Jones closed in December last year.

“The Parks and Recreation Department does not anticipate that water levels will recede in time for water damaged areas to be repaired before winter,” a statement from the city said.

The back nine holes have been closed since Sept. 4 due to repeated flooding while the front nine have only been open for eight days since then, according to the statement.

The other municipal courses — Ellis, Gardner and Twin Pines — will remain open as weather permits. Course information can be found at playcedarrapidsgolf.com.

Flooding has made Jones, 2901 Fruitland Blvd. SW, the biggest culprit in a golf department that has been bleeding financially for years.

Last month, city officials said a number of initiatives to close the deficit had been paying off, but then two more floods further disrupted the golf season at Jones, which sits on Prairie Creek.

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A 2016 internal report found Jones experienced 25 flood events leading to 22 full or partial closures since 2001, and Jones has had closures each of the past four seasons. Flooding episodes can cost $15,000 to $20,000 each time to repair the grounds, but the bigger hit is lost income when golfers can’t play, city officials have said.

City Council last year rebuffed a plan to close Jones as a key mechanism to stabilize golf finances, leaving property taxpayers to continue to bail out the department. The City Council had sought to study privatizing golf operations, but with several new council members and a new parks and recreation director that has yet to happen.

Over a five-year period, Jones was responsible for $803,719 of $1.1 million in golf program losses, the city reported in 2017.

Cedar Rapids Parks and Recreation Director Scott Hock said last month the city is on the right track in reducing operating losses, but noted they plan to analyze the system after the close of the season. City officials did not have new information about the review process on Monday.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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