Hiawatha Golf Course update


Record golf revenue

The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB) reports that the Minneapolis golf courses produced record revenue in 2023 of $9,228,460 with an operational profit of $928,922. How much of the revenue does Hiawatha get for maintenance and improvements? Superintendent Bangoura confirmed that, “Hiawatha Golf Course has consistently (for the past 10 years) received 15% less of a budget for maintenance than the other 18-hole golf courses in the MPRB system, partly due to the sharing of maintenance staff with Fort Snelling Golf Course.” This makes no sense; the work doesn’t go down at Hiawatha because Hiawatha staff has additional responsibility for another golf course. Kudos to the Hiawatha greens staff for all of their hard work on a sub-standard budget.

Cost of the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan, so far

Public data requests to the MPRB show that over $1 million has been spent on the Hiawatha Golf Course Master Plan from 2015 through 2023. All of these expenses have been charged to the Golf Department, thus draining over $1 million from Minneapolis golf course revenues.

MPRB requests more money from the Metropolitan Council

The MPRB issued an RFQ (Request For Qualifications) to contractors for further work on the Hiawatha Golf Course plan.
The RFQ indicates that in 2024 the MPRB plans on spending $200,000 by borrowing from 2024 MPRB funds given by the Metropolitan Council. They will then pay the money back at some future date with unspecified funds. Is borrowing this money allowed? The MPRB also has raised golf fees again this year. Is this to cover the pay-back funds in 2024?
The RFQ also indicates that the MPRB will fund work in 2025 with a $1,010,000 funding request to the Met Council. The problem is that the Met Council cannot fund golf course or restaurant projects. Yet golf course and restaurant work is listed – a golf course schematic ($150,000) and a traffic analysis ($20,000) for the golf course and restaurant. And much of the rest of the listed work is for general design which intertwines golf course features with some general park features. When the Met Council looked at the plan for approval in 2023, Tyler Pederson of the MPRB promised them that no golf course work would be done with Met Council money. Now, the MPRB is requesting money for this work. This is the quagmire that the Met Council stepped into when they approved funding this project. The Met Council has not responded to questions about the use of Council funding for the Hiawatha Golf Course.
Everyone should be aware that this additional $1.2 million in expenditures will only produce another concept, even though the RFQ specifically states that “design development, construction documentation, and construction administration is not included in this work.” So the MPRB will have spent $1 million over 11 years for the initial concept, and now they will spend an additional $1.2 million for another concept. Some people might consider this “make work.” But then, it is just golfers’, and now, taxpayers’ money.


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