The Village Board was intimidated and backed off on the idea.
But that didn’t result in enough revenue coming in to solve the enterprise’s financial problems.
Village officials have known the golf course was in financial trouble since at least 2010.
And, of course, long-time residents know that it did not pay for itself, as promised.
Greens fees had to be supplemented with years and years of higher property tax bills. (I remember $500 a year to subsidize the course.)
In 2010, Village President Erin Smith said,
“We’re worried about the short-term.”
“If we have the same revenues we have this year, we may not be able to run it all year.”
I had shared a revenue-raising idea with our Village Administrator Catherine Peterson and last week she asked if I might be interested in presenting it to Board members.
I couldn’t attend the meeting, so I sent this email:
I’ve got an out-of-the box suggestion of how to raise money for a clubhouse or other improvements for the golf course.
I’d present them in person, but I will not be back in Crystal Lake until about 6:30 Tuesday. By then I imagine the public comment period will be over. (I’d be happy to come then, if you would let me speak, however.)
I got this idea when I heard that there were two lots that could be sold for home sites.
That’s a fair amount of ground.
How could the village maximize its return?
My suggestion is to use them, plus other peripheral land, as a cemetery.
Certainly out-of-the box, right?
But implementation of the idea would probably bring in more money than any other use.
I have sent Catherine links to several articles, one of which is about a funeral home which created a golf green for the sole purpose of being a focal point for grave sites.
What are the biggest expenses for a cemetery?
Ground maintenance is my guess.
And, that we already have in place.
Burial sites would not have to be limited to the two lots. I imagine there are other parts of the golf course that could be used.
In addition, you might want to consider allowing pets to buried on the course.
There may be another pet cemetery nearby, but I don’t know where.
Deciding to go this route might or might not be enough to finance a club house, but it would provide a stream of revenue not available now.
And, the resulting publicity would certainly be worth tens of thousands of dollars of advertising.
The question, of course, is whether neighbors care enough about preserving and improving the golf course to allow for nearby graves.
Those of use who are not neighbors would be indifferent, I would suggest.
There would be no tombstones to be seen and the Board could obviously also prohibit the display of flowers above grave markers that dot cemeteries like Woodstock’s on Route 14.
So, the views could remain the same, except for interment days.
To my surprise, the Northwest Herald decided to do a Saturday article on the idea.
So, I thought, why not let anyone interested read the entire email, instead of just excerpts that fit into the paper?
Lots of money was spent on a new parking lot last year.
Eventually, this enterprise will no longer be able to present the facade of financing itself.
One alternative is to pass a special tax to pay for capital improvements, even a club house.
My prediction is that such a referendum would have no chance of passing.
But, to keep the golf course up and running, some new source of revenue will be needed.
If someone can come up with a better idea than using marginal land for graves, step right up.