City of El Dorado Announces Transition Plan to Operate Prairie Trails Golf Course as a Municipal Golf Course
April 22, 2020 – The City of El Dorado, Kansas announced today that an arrangement to sell Prairie Trails Golf Course to GreatLife Golf and Fitness, LLC will not come to fruition. The City, in partnership with GreatLife, has developed a transition plan to allow the City to once again operate Prairie Trails as a municipal golf course.
GreatLife previously agreed to purchase Prairie Trails Golf Course from the City for $550,000, although the transaction was delayed when GreatLife elected to restructure prior to closing and then reportedly could not secure financing in order to close the sale.
“It is unfortunate that the transaction did not close as originally planned,” says City Manager David Dillner. “The City hoped that the sale to GreatLife would have provided an enhanced experience to the community.” The City will now determine a path forward to allow for continued operation of the golf course. “The City Commission prefers to pursue a course of action that preserves the ability for citizens to access the game of golf,” says Mayor Bill Young. “As such, the City will work diligently to transition Prairie Trails back to a municipally operated facility.”
The City’s motivation for selling Prairie Trails was to remove the financial liability of operating a golf course from the City’s balance sheet. Historically, the General Fund annually transferred about $250,000 (equivalent to about 2.7 mills) for the golf course to operate. The City’s annual operating budget for Prairie Trails Golf Course, when operated by the City, was about $620,000.
“The transition plan will implement a more efficient operation of the golf course so as to reduce the allocation of general government funds as much as possible,” says City Manager David Dillner. “In addition to a reduced operating budget, the City will seek partnerships with the community to facilitate a sustainable operations plan for Prairie Trails Golf Course.” The City Commission desires to offer Prairie Trails for sale to a buyer interested in operating a golf course for the community.
The City plans to assume operations of Prairie Trails on May 1st, although the pro shop will not be open until May 8th. Golfers will be able to play for free without carts during this transition period. (Golfers may use their own carts if they prefer not to walk.) Golfers are encouraged to practice social distancing and proper golf etiquette during this “free play” event.
The City recognizes that existing patrons may have questions about how the transition will affect their memberships and ability to play golf. Information to address these concerns will be shared as soon as practicable.