DIXON – The city is planning a $400,000 donation to help prevent the Timber Creek Golf Course from closing.
Kreider Services, which serves more than 600 people with developmental disabilities each year, is working on a public/private partnership in hopes of taking over Timber Creek.
The agency is raising more than $1 million for irrigation repairs needed to better maintain the greens with plans to employ 40 to 50 disabled people at the facility.
Kreider would become the new owner of Timber Creek after buying it for $1, essentially donating, from owners Ron Keith and his son, Brett.
The deal would require Timber Creek to be maintained as a golf course for at least 20 years, Kreider executive director Jeff Stauter told Dixon City Council on Monday.
Plans also include setting up a large outdoor tent on the tennis courts to host events of up to 500 people.
[ Kreider Services continues campaign to save Timber Creek Golf Course without county support ]
Major renovations would cost approximately $1.4 million to replace the irrigation system and pumphouse, as well as dredge the pond and perform work on the green and tee boxes. The drop ceiling in the dining room also needs repairs.
The current irrigation system is over 50 years old and breaks down regularly. It also clogs, leaks and doesn’t supply enough water to stay on course.
The city has been approached several times over the years to help keep Timber Creek from closing, but officials weren’t interested in providing funds to keep it afloat, Mayor Li Arellano Jr. said the proposal de Kreider is different from the others and is the most thorough presentation to save the course.
Jestun Gatz, who owns four golf courses including Silver Ridge in Oregon, questioned the viability of the project, the need for a large event venue and the city’s due diligence.
Having Timber Creek as a banquet venue is a big factor because it could be an economic driver for the community, which should get two new hotels in the Interstate 88 corridor, Council Member Mike Venier said.
Project investor Jim Marshall said the people of the Sauk Valley would be able to maintain the golf course and would also seek to bring in golfers from the western suburbs.
Gatz argued that the Sauk Valley is overcrowded with five golf courses; Emerald Hill, which is maintained by the Sterling Park District, has been operating at a loss for years. It appears to be losing $274,650 this year, down from $202,700 last year, $241,000 the year before and nearly $150,000 the year before.
Despite other courses in the area, Timber Creek is the only one in Dixon, Venier said.
Technically, Timber Creek is not within city limits, but the $400,000 donation would come with city requirements, including annexation to Dixon, Arellano said.
It would be more of a grant with expectations and conditions attached rather than just a donation.
The money will not be released until the requirements are settled and the project can move forward.
The project would benefit the quality of life for the residents of Dixon, and it is a unique opportunity for the town to be the second golf course in the country to be operated by an organization based on helping people with disabilities, said Mary Oros, Board member.
The first of its kind is in Herkimer, New York.
Kreider initially raised about $200,000 in private donations and received a $300,000 grant from the state.
Kreider approached Lee County Council, but they were unable to secure a $250,000 donation.
The board denied the request in August in a 10-11 vote. Kreider officials and supporters then approached the county’s finance and executive committees to reconsider the request, and the board denied the request. request for reconsideration in an 11-12 vote on September 22.
[ Historic Timber Creek Golf Course facing closure after failing to secure county funds ]
Stauter had said he did not believe the project would proceed without county support, but more private donors supported the project following the council’s decision.
The city’s donation is said to come from COVID-19 relief funds.
The city received approximately $2.2 million in dollars from the US Federal Bailout Act and spent it on paying salaries for firefighters and police, which is an acceptable use of funds from the ARPA.
This, in turn, freed up city funds that would have gone to payroll to go toward different projects without having to go through ARPA’s restrictions or reporting process.
Most were placed in a COVID-19 relief fund and $500,000 was placed in a community development fund.
One of the county’s previous criticisms of the donation was that the money could be spent on much needed projects, including infrastructure improvements such as road repairs.
Venier said making the donation would not prevent street work.
Arellano argued, however, that would be $400,000 that would not be spent on other projects.
“We can’t say it couldn’t be used for these things, because it absolutely could be,” Arellano said.
Council Member Dennis Considine said Arellano should have more empathy for the project, and Arellano said he doesn’t think a golf course is about empathy.
Council member Chris Bishop said the project needed to be viable in the longer term to win the donation, and he also suggested the course waive fees for golfers from Dixon High School to practice there.
The board unanimously approved the donation subject to an agreement outlining expectations and requirements.
The project will keep historic equipment open in Dixon, help generate income for Kreider and provide much-needed jobs for people with disabilities, Stauter said.
After being closed for a year, Timber Creek reopened in 2019 after the Keiths signed a rental agreement with Rick and Brenda Humphrey to help revive the establishment after failing to find someone to buy and build it. keep as a golf course.
The current lease ends on October 31.
Timber Creek features an 18-hole golf course, banquet center, Bogey’s Bar and Grill, outdoor pool and tennis courts.
The Keiths bought the old Dixon Country Club as it closed on February 1, 2007, for $1.7 million. At the time, the number of members had dropped to less than 100.
They renamed it and changed it from a private club to a semi-private club, opening it to the public for the first time since its inception in 1915.
They have operated the course at a financial loss for years wanting to preserve it in the community and have competed with municipally run courses in the area which can be subsidized with taxpayer money.
The land was originally donated by Charles Walgreen, and former President Ronald Reagan was a caddy.