Osage City approves contract with GreatLIFE golf

OSAGE CITY — Just two weeks after its start date, the Osage City Council unanimously approved a contract with GreatLIFE Golf to become an affiliate course during its Feb. 14 regular meeting.

Council, staff and course representatives discussed changes with Bryan Minnis, GreatLIFE Golf chief development officer. During a previous meeting, the council and golf board voiced concerns regarding fees on top of the monthly agreement for items, such as the company’s point of sale system.

“It used to say that the monthly fee was $250, and that was one of the requirements,” said Rod Willis, city manager, who went over the change. “GreatLife will implement that as its expense for the months of March through September. It will be utilized but they won’t charge us for that time period, is what they said.”

A $100 per month fee for web design and hosting had also been removed.

“So you’re back to the $1,000 a month,” Willis said.

Minnis addressed both items, starting with the point of sale system.

“The city will have, at its option, whether or not to keep that service,” Minnis said. “If we’re fortunate enough to sign another agreement, and if it warrants having that system, we’ll bring it back.”

He also noted the option of utilizing the existing Osage City and GreatLIFE Web sites for the courses online presence.

“We’re negotiating right now with a service for all of our web pages for all of our golf courses,” Minnis said. “There’s a chance we may be able to provide that service, for no fee, but I won’t know that for a couple months.”

Rick Godderz, city attorney, noted the contingency performance fee was still in the contract.

“You could pay more than that, based on that revenue,” Godderz said.

Minnis also explained a possible decrease in the purchase price of chemicals, noting a change to generic with their vendor, noting a change from $8,839 to $5,433.

“That’s a savings of just over $3,400,” Minnis said.

The council also discussed memberships, soil testing and other options before approving the agreement.

“I’m hoping it’s what we need to make this thing work,” said Richard Burkdoll, golf board president.

Disc golf course

Erick Punches, resident, also approached the council, suggesting a disc golf course as an additional money generating opportunity for the golf course. He told the council he plays the sport regularly with his stepfather at courses around the region.

“I’ve been well aware of the financial issues with the golf course in the town,” Punches said. “One day, we thought, ‘Why don’t they have a course here?’”

Punches introduced Justin Rahe, course sales representative for Dynamic Discs, Emporia. Rahe described the increased popularity of the sport, and access for all ages. Rahe also spoke to the advantages of installing a disc course at the existing golf course.

“It is more convenient,” Rahe said. “You don’t have to set up land or clear any tress. Disc golf courses require about half the land. You can easily put 18 disc baskets on a nine-hole course. We recommend an acre a hole. You can play down into the rough, or around the areas that do not receive a lot of traffic. You don’t have to pour additional tee pads.”

Rob Rowe, council member, asked Minnis about possible issues with the cross traffic.

“They did give us a courtesy call,” Minnis said. “Golfers get grumpy when they see foot golfers and disc golfers on their golf course.”

Minnis said other GreatLIFE courses do cohabitate with disc golf courses.

“Anything that drives people to the golf course, and is ultimately designed to increase revenue,” Minnis said. “If disc golf were to be implemented at that facility, it should be very strategically thought out so it never impedes play. It can be a revenue generator, but the heart and soul of Osage City golf course is the members that pay the dues. That is always going to drive the support to the golf course.”

The quote from Dynamic Disc utilized the design of Eric McKay, professional disc golfer who grew up in Emporia.

“He would set up the course in a way that is first and foremost safe,” Rahe said. “He also utilizes the land as effectively as possibly, so not only are there cool holes, but so we’re making it the maximum benefit to everybody involved.”

The council discussed additional options for the course, as well as alternative sites. The council also noted courses in Reading, at Pomona and Melvern lakes, and a planned course for Melvern. The council also discussed the willingness of disc golfers to pay greens fees.

“If we are looking at trying to promote this in Osage City, it would be good to know how much they are making with disc golfers that are going onto the course,” said Dale Schwieger, council member. “I’ve seen the courses. I know the course design is excellent. The issue is getting people to pay to play. If we have it in an area that’s free, I’m all for it.”

“Is there any possibility the designer could give us a napkin sketch?” asked Quintin Robert, mayor. “It’d be easier to talk about it if we have a concept. I’d be curious to know how it’d wrap around what we’ve got.”

Other council members also showed interest, but wanted to see more options, but encouraged Punches to keep moving forward with the project.

“I reached out because it was something I wanted,” Punches said. “I just love it. I think it’s fun. I get to spend time with family doing it. I think it’d be something good and something different for the town.”

Senior housing

The council heard from Bill Caton, project manager for a six-city proposed senior housing project to install 26 apartment units in and around Osage County. He was joined by Ken Kuykendall, Osage County Commissioner.

“We are proposing to put six units, in a duplex and or four-plex style, of senior-affordable housing. We have a landowner contact at First and Lakin (streets).

The project also includes Burlingame, Harveyville, Lyndon, Overbrook and Williamsburg.

“They have to be 55 or older and have 60 percent or less of the median income for the area,” Caton said. “A single person can earn about $23,000 a year, a couple can earn about $30,000.”

Caton said that would be someone on a small pension or Social Security.

“Federal tax credits support about 80 percent of the cost of development,” Caton said. “It allows us to lower the rent to about 30 percent of the person’s income.”

Caton said the project is being pushed through with a committed investor, and that he felt like there was 70 percent chance of the project being completed.

“The notice that we are receiving these, if we are successful, will be sometime in May,” Caton said. “We would hope to have construction under way early spring 2018, with about a nine-month construction period.”

Caton had presented two items to the council.

“We are asking you to adopt the resolution, and consider the referral,” Caton said.

The council unanimously approved Resolution 1009 expressing support for the rural senior apartments development project. There was also a request for the council to approve a document saying the city would refer anyone who asked.

“It’s pretty generic, if anyone asks about affordable housing that you’ll refer them to us,” Caton said.

The council approved the referral agreement, which fit in with list of landlords the city currently keeps.

In other business, the council:

• approved a motion to meet at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the new police and electrical distribution facility at 322 S. Martin St. and reconvene at the council chambers at 7 p.m.

• heard the new filing deadline for the city elections will be Nov. 7, 2017.

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