Cedar Rapids Considers Shrinking Jones Park Golf Course

By Dave Franzman, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - The city of Cedar Rapids is thinking about turning back the clock when it comes to one of the four city municipal golf courses.

Jones Park Golf Course, 2901 Fruitland Blvd S.W., was converted from nine to 18 holes back in 2000-2001. Now, the city is thinking of undoing that expansion due to the constant headache of repairing flood damage to the course that sits close to Prairie Creek.

Lisa Miller, city golf superintendent, said the proposed plan is to create a premier USGA 9-hole golf course along with a small par-3 "Academy Course" and a driving range that Jones currently doesn't have. That would allow room for more detailed golf instruction while cutting back on the room for the total number of holes.

Miller said the estimate to convert to 9 holes and add an instruction center is just under $12,000. The most recent estimate to repair flood damage this year (reseeding fairways, etc.) is more than $32,000. The flood damage to the course in 2008 was much more extensive and expensive to fix.

"It's changed, there's more development and concrete upstream. It seems like the events (flooding) are more severe. We've had three events this year and 19 since we opened it to 18 holes," Miller said.

Miller said some golfers had approached the city suggesting the conversion to a 9 hole course rather than constant repair after flood. Miller said when the course was expanded 13 years ago, the idea was an occasional flood, every four or five years, would not create more than a temporary inconvenience. However, repeat floods the same year caused damage that took money to repair.

Several golfers out on the course Monday weighed in on the proposed conversion.

Laurence Dickes said "with the flooding, it's not going to be cost effective to keep it open (18 holes). Not that I like that, but it's what has to be."

Another golfer, Daven Clendenen, added "I enjoyed the 18, but it might be better off back to the nine."

The city is planning an open house on Wednesday, July 24th to explain the conversion idea. The open houses would run from 1:00-2:30 p.m. and 6:00-7:30 p.m. that day. Golf staff would be on hand to explain the concept and show proposed drawings of the layout.

Miller said a recent trend in golfing is more 9 hole rounds to offer golfers a quicker and less expensive way to play.

If the city reduces the number of holes at Jones Park, the fairways closest to Prairie Creek would revert to their previous use as a flood plain.
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