Friday, May 17, 2013
By David Skolnick
In an effort to increase the number of golfers using the city-owned Henry Stambaugh Golf Course, the park and recreation department is reducing the fee for nine holes and a golf cart after 2 p.m. on weekends.
“Weekend mornings are the course’s busiest time, but after 2 p.m. we’re stagnant, so this will help bring people out and increase revenue,” said Robert Burke, the city’s park and recreation director. “After 2 p.m., people were going to other courses.”
The new 2 p.m. weekend fee rate drops to $11 beginning this Saturday. For city residents playing nine holes and using a golf cart after 2 p.m. on weekends, the cost was $13.50. It was $14.50 for those who live outside the city.
The new rates are now cheaper than at five other area courses surveyed by the park and recreation department.
“It’s a good move to reduce the rates,” said Bill DeChicco of Boardman, who grew up near the North Side golf course and still plays there about four times a week. “I wish more people played here because it’s a nice course. Hopefully the price change will help. I expect it will bring people out here.”
Samuel Olarewaju of Youngstown, who has a $475 season membership to the course, said the discount “is a good deal. It will bring people out. They need to be competitive with other golf courses in the area. Other courses in the area offer specials on weekends. This is a very good deal, and the rates should increase the number of golfers for that time on weekends.”
Anthony Spano, chairman of the city’s park and recreation commission, said, “We want to bring more golfers to the course. A lot of the courses reduce rates, and we want to be more than competitive; we want to beat their price. We feel this will bring people who don’t go in the afternoon to the course. We’ve had slow traffic during that time. We think it will increase traffic and bring more money to the course.”
The season at Stambaugh usually starts in early March and closes in late November, depending on the weather. Because of bad weather, the course didn’t open this year until the first week in April.
“That impacts our bottom line,” Burke said. “We hope the new afternoon weekend rate will help increase revenue.”
The 90-year-old golf course, which hasn’t turned a profit in several years, lost $28,511 last year. It lost $57,407 in 2011.
Meanwhile, the admission to the city-owned North Side Pool will increase this year for adults from $1.50 to $2, the first increase in four years.
The cost for kids remains $1.
“Operating pools is expensive, but it’s a community service,” Burke said. “We’re not out to make money, but we want to reduce our loss.”
The pool costs about $100,000 annually to operate. It made $9,598.50 last year.
The city is having a “tough time” getting lifeguards for the pool, which opens next month, Burke said.
Those who let their lifeguard certification expire should contact the park and recreation department to help get them recertified, Burke said.
Those interested in lifeguard jobs or getting recertified can call the department at 330-742-8711 and ask for Tiffany.