Late spring, high gas prices create $77,000 hole in Grand Lake Rec District budget | SkyHiNews.com

Late spring, high gas prices create $77,000 hole in Grand Lake Rec District budget

Tonya Bina
Sky-Hi Daily News

A late golf start and increased gas prices have impacted the bottom line at the Grand Lake Metropolitan Recreation District.

To date, district revenue is down $77,445 from what was budgeted, according to district financial reports.

Golf operations took the biggest hit from weather delays and grim economic factors, district officials say, with a season start $41,000 more in the red than anticipated.

The golf course opened for the season eight days late on May 23.

Golf memberships are also down with 183 members compared to 257 last year, a difference of about $37,900, reported District Administrator Bruce Crutcher.

“Nationwide, rounds and revenues are down 25 percent, which is similar in Colorado,” said Director of Golf Don Campbell at Thursday’s monthly meeting.

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The loss had the board upping its focus on marketing.

“I think we need to increase our marketing efforts, we can’t just have our sign say ‘open’ and hope to compete,” said John Gould, elected president for another term by fellow board members at the May 15 meeting. Tim Thorpe was re-elected as vice president/treasurer and new board member Don Summers was elected secretary.

After a board discussion about ways to reach more Grand Lake visitors, such as more presence in the visitor center and downtown, Gould arranged a meeting with board member Jeremy Kennell, Campbell and the district’s contracted marketing arm Firebird Design Works to implement boardroom ideas.

July 5K nixed

In other news, due to “staffing issues,” the district will not be hosting its annual Buffalo Barbecue 5K race this year (Buffalo Barbecue itself, however, is still very much on).

Minus a general manager this season and low staffing, the race was taken off this summer’s plate. Board member Tom Goodfellow voiced his disappointment.

“I don’t know why we’re not doing something that’s such a tradition in Grand Lake,” he said.

New trails on the horizon

The district is moving forward with new hiking and bicycle trails this season. Nordic Center Director Janice Peck briefed board members on the progress of volunteers who are energized by the notion of having trails on recreation district land linked to miles of forest service trails by way of a future bridge spanning the Colorado River.

“The Forest Service is tore up due to logging,” Peck reported. “We are at a place in time where people need a place to ride mountain bikes, hike and walk their dogs. We have a great vision that will be in place within two years.”

The district is looking to 20-30 miles of trail in its system, and the initial stretch may be open within a month. As part of the system, some trails will be dedicated to hikers with dogs, while others would be devoted to mountain biking and hiking.

Board members took a step in support of the system Thursday by accepting a $13,990 bid with Stanley Excavating Inc. of Grand Lake to create a 7,500 square-foot parking lot and 2,750 square-foot driveway for users at the trailhead.

In other board business:

– The board scheduled a board orientation session with Dr. Fred C. Schroeder of Executive Leadership Support, Grand Lake. The workshop will orient board members as it transitions to a season without an executive director, and will be an “opportunity to discuss, put things on the table and really move forward for the community,” Schroeder said Thursday. The workshop takes place Sunday, June 29.

– Campbell reported to board members that the new clubhouse menu is gaining positive response. The golf course’s Slyfox Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunches every day.

– Superintendent Allen Brown reported there has been 906 man hours to date on logging and removing blow-down trees. Removal of slash and logs this year has cost the district $23,400 so far. The next project is removing trees from the parking lot area, considered hazard trees, and possibly near golf course hole number 10.

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