Flood Protection 'Not up to Par' on Jones GC

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9)-- UPDATE:A few members of the Cedar Rapids City Council say they'll likely discuss the finances of Jones Golf Course.

The course has an annual maintenance budget of more than $326 thousand. And that number increases $10-17 thousand each year the city-owned course floods, something that's happened twice just this month.

Council member Dale Todd represents the district that includes Jones Golf Course. He said he doesn't want the city to permanently close the course. But he said he wants to review how much money the golf course cost the city this year.

---When flood threats happen parts of the Cedar Rapids shut down, including various roads and parks. And it costs the city money.

For example, Jones Golf Course has an annual maintenance budget of more than $326,000. And that number increases $10,000 to $17,000 each year it floods.

Most of those costs will go towards reseeding the grounds.

People that know the course say flooding is becoming a yearly trend.

Bruce Smith has lived next to Jones Golf Course for 43 years. In that time, he can only count a couple of years when the course did not flood.

"It has been flooding almost yearly because the river gets high enough and the creek can't drain then the creek backs up,” Smith said.

The worst flood was of course in 2008. This year, Smith and his neighbors were optimistic they wouldn't have to deal with extra water.

"We're always thinking maybe this year. And this has been a successful golf year down here I think until this point,” Smith said.

The course shut down for the first two full weeks of September.

"We were opened the 17th on the front 9 and then closed this week,” Interim Golf Operations Manager David Roe said.

Roe said the back 9 of the course closes once the river gets to 10 feet. At 13 feet the entire course closes. Roe isn't sure if the course will reopen this year.

"The plan is to go forward but we have to assess the damage and go from there,” Roe said.

If it does, crews will have to work quickly to repair damages. Courses usually close in mid-November.

"Break up some of the topsoil in it, and seed it,” Roe said. “If we can get it done in the fall we'll be able to go the first part of the spring. If it we have to wait then well push our season back a bit."

Roe said the course doesn't have a way to prevent flooding, given its location to in the floodplain.

And while neighbors, like Smith, appreciate the benefits of living close to a golf course. He hates that the money comes from the city budget-- and ultimately taxpayers’ pockets.

"You don't have a problem with vandalism and stuff because I think it’s looked after,” Smith said. “But I also understand money is part of this thing. I just assume it be a golf course but I hate to see them lose money on it."

If the golf course would ever permanently close, that would have to be decision made at city council.

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