Lions Club revenue up over last year

Municipal Lions Club Golf Course revenue increased by more than $11,000 for the year and two new basketball courts just south of the pro shop have been busy since opening several weeks ago.

With new public restrooms slated for completion near the courts and on the south side of the walking path that surrounds the Lions Club, the El Dorado Parks and Playgrounds Commission is exploring ways to ensure that visitors and users of the three facilities continue to have a pleasant and enjoyable experience.

At a regular meeting earlier this week, commissioners noted that some preparatory work appeared to have started some time ago on the toilets, but the project has since stalled.

The public restrooms will be the first to go up as part of a master plan to improve the city’s parks.

The plan includes several components that were included in three funding packages that were approved in 2021 by the El Dorado Works Board and the El Dorado City Council.

EWB administers the El Dorado Works Tax, a one-cent municipal sales tax initiative dedicated to economic development, municipal infrastructure and quality of life projects.

Funding requests for proposed projects are submitted to EWB for verification. If the projects are approved, EWB sends the proposals to the municipal council for a final vote.

The package includes:

• A total of $186,740 to pave the recreational pathway surrounding the municipal Lions Club golf course ($166,000); an electric lawn sweeper ($16,346) for LCMGC; five park-style charcoal grills for Neel, Mattocks, Mellor, Mosby and Old City parks ($2,417).

• A total of $89,052 for a used driveway mower ($38,380) and two utility carts ($9,262 each) for LCMGC; and $43,280 for the construction of two new basketball courts at Lions Club Park, which is located at the entrance to the golf course but has been moved east.

• A total of $43,972 for public washrooms ($30,000) to service the new basketball courts at Lions Club Park and the existing recreational pathway; two new water fountains ($12,400), one of which will be installed on the north side of the recreational path and the other on the south side of the path near the new basketball courts; and $1,572 for a new picnic table, which will also be placed near the basketball courts.

Work on the recreational trail was completed in February, equipment was purchased for the golf course, all barbecues were installed and the new courses were inaugurated a few weeks ago.

On May 24, LCMGC manager Danny Carelock told commissioners that the golf course had also acquired a used sprayer for $8,000.

Commissioners discussed the issue last month. Carelock then said the sprayer was for sale by the Diamonte Country Club in Hot Springs Village and the machine had logged 1,600 hours.

“There’s age on it. You can tell there’s age on it, but everything works fine and the guy had some extra parts,” Carelock told the stewards. “If I need something, I can call him and he will send it to me and we can sort it out with him.”

Carelock said this week that golf course crews were waiting for drier weather to start using the sprayer, which commissioners said could also be used in other city parks.

The purchase was covered by funds from the 2022 City Parks Budget.

EPPC President Ken Goudy said as of April 30, golf course revenue was up $11,240 from the same period in 2021.

Monthly income fell from $8,507 and $10,738 in January and February, respectively, to $20,544 and $30,729 in March and April.

By comparison, revenue was $3,463 in February 2021, a time when snow and ice storms significantly affected play on the golf course.

Revenues for January and March 2021 were $8,911 and $23,427. April’s revenue greatly exceeded April 2021’s take of $23,477.

Toilets and other issues

Robert Edmonds, director of public works, told commissioners that the public toilet project is expected to take 30 to 45 days after work begins.

“Once the slab is poured, it won’t take long. It’s just a concrete building,” he said.

Last month, the commissioners expressed concern about delays to the project, noting that a notice to proceed had been issued in fall 2021 to contractor Diversified Construction & Design.

Edmonds said a supply chain rumble caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has affected construction projects nationwide.

Commissioners agreed that the restrooms will serve as a prototype to gauge how well they will function and be maintained in hopes of adding public restrooms to other city parks in the future.

City crews will handle daily maintenance, Edmonds said, and the facility will be equipped with time delay locks to help prevent vandalism.

Parks and Playgrounds Commissioners and the city are considering erecting a fence around the new basketball courts as a safety measure to prevent loose balls from rolling into traffic.

The new courts are part of Lions Club Park, which once stood on the west side of the golf course entrance. The park had a basketball court and benches.

With two new, larger courts, the busy park has been moved east and away from the LCMGC entrance, which is part of a four-way stop at the intersection of East 19th and Martin Luther King streets.

Edmonds said the city is planning more earthworks to smooth out a slope near the courts and that while the fence was not part of the original scope of work, it could be added at the request of the EPPC and the council members.

Commissioners asked May 24 if the fence would extend to the restrooms and Commissioner Glen Faust said the restroom site was too far from the basketball courts to be included in the fence.

The toilets will serve the courts and the recreational path.

Commissioner Karen Hicks said the fence will also prevent people from driving on the courts.

EPPC and golf course managers Carelock and Terri McCaskell noted similar issues with people driving motorized vehicles, including cars and ATVs, on recreational grounds and trails and playing loud music near basketball courts, adding that the music can be heard on the golf course and in the pro shop.

Commissioners discussed posting signs directing visitors to available parking spaces, no parking, and signs prohibiting loud music.

“Why establish a rule that we cannot apply? asked commissioner Karen Hicks.

“We might not be able to enforce it, but at the same time it’s good to encourage a positive environment and it even gives other customers a chance to share the rules and say, ‘Hey, that’s is what the rules say,’ said Commissioner Greg Harrison.

Harrison is also chairman of the El Dorado-Union County Recreation Complex Commission and he said the group deals with similar issues at the complex.

Charles P. Patton