Following is the press release from the County Council.
From the office of Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin:
The Montgomery County Council today voted 7-2 to approve a $150,000 appropriation to keep Sligo Creek Golf Course in Silver Spring in operation until June 30, 2010—the end of the County’s Fiscal Year 2010. Without the special appropriation, the course was scheduled to close on Oct. 1. Councilmember Valerie Ervin, whose district includes Silver Spring, and other Councilmembers said that a task force the Council voted today to create will have to consider many options for the best long-term solution for the golf course’s future.
Neil H. Greenberger
Legislative Information Officer
Montgomery County Council
Montgomery Council Approves Funds to Keep Open Sligo Creek Golf Course
Councilmember Ervin Fought for Funding to Keep Course Open Until June 30, 2010; Now Long-Term Solution is Needed
ROCKVILLE, Md., September 29, 2009 — The Montgomery County Council today voted 7-2 to approve a $150,000 appropriation to keep Sligo Creek Golf Course in Silver Spring in operation until June 30, 2010—the end of the County’s Fiscal Year 2010. Without the special appropriation, the course was scheduled to close on Oct. 1.
Sligo Creek Golf Course is a 65-acre, nine-hole golf course located inside the Beltway in Sligo Creek Park. The course has been in operation since 1927 and became the County's first public course in 1946. The vast majority of Sligo Creek Golf Course users are County residents and more than half are 50 and older. Beginning golfers and youth also utilize the course to learn the game of golf.
Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who represents Silver Spring, appreciates the support of her Council colleagues, but said there is more work to be done. "While I am ecstatic that we have saved the course today, we can't be in this same situation at the end of June," said Councilmember Ervin. "The Council is immediately going to convene its own task force to look at what will be necessary to preserve the golf course over the long-term."
In addition to Councilmember Ervin, voting for the special appropriation were Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, Nancy Navarro and Duchy Trachtenberg. Council President Phil Andrews and Councilmember Mike Knapp voted against approving the funding.
Tuesday's agenda also included a resolution to establish a Sligo Creek Golf Course Task Force, which was sponsored by Councilmembers Ervin, Elrich, Floreen, Leventhal and Trachtenberg. The purpose of this group will be to implement a plan that will lead to the self-sustainability of Sligo Creek Golf Course. If the task force develops recommendations that are not self-sustaining, it must identify and justify ongoing costs to the County.
Several options have been discussed by Councilmembers on how to save the golf course, including Councilmember Ervin's recommendation to develop a public-private partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs at the federal or state level and non-profit organizations that provide recreational opportunities. The goal would be to provide therapeutic golf to veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Growing up in a military family, I know about the tremendous sacrifices soldiers and their families make each and every day," said Ervin. "Providing therapeutic golf for veterans in and around the Washington Metropolitan area at Sligo Creek Golf Course would be a small way to give back to those who have given so much and could maintain this treasured community recreational asset."
Councilmember Leventhal said he wants the task force to consider many options.
"I'm optimistic that the task force can bring a recommendation back to the Council that addresses the long-term financial viability of the golf course,” said Councilmember Leventhal. “My office has worked to produce a memo that details several long-term options and I hope that this document can serve as a starting point for the discussion on how we can keep Sligo Creek Golf Course open and self sustaining."
Councilmember Floreen said: “Because we are dealing with significant fiscal constraints, we must work together to find creative ways of making the golf course self-sustaining. I’m optimistic this group will be able to come up with thoughtful recommendations within the short timeframe.”
Councilmember Elrich said: “Since the threat of closing Sligo Creek Golf Course arose this spring, I have supported keeping golf on Sligo. I applaud the local community groups, neighbors and golf advocates who have fought to preserve this course. Now the hard work begins for us to find a workable solution that will keep this course alive and thriving for generations to come.”
Councilmember Ervin said the task force will work with community members to find the right long-term solution for the course.
"While we all recognize these are difficult economic times, I'm confident that members of this Council Task Force will think of innovative ways we can keep the course operational without unduly burdening taxpayers," said Councilmember Ervin. "I look forward to working with this group as they develop their recommendations. I also want to thank the Sligo Creek Golf Course association for all of their advocacy and support for saving the course."
The Sligo Creek Task Force must provide its initial report to the County Council on or before Jan. 19, 2010.
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Following is the press release from the County Council.