Friday, June 6, 2008

Carbondale Park District and Hickory Ridge

Apparently the Carbondale Park District is going to be pretty short on cash for the next couple of years. I was talking with Park Board member Carmen Suarez yesterday and from what I understand, the funding problems date back to the way in which Hickory Ridge Golf Course was funded in 1993.

Building the course was controversial back then, so one of the selling points was paying off the loan on the course (and later the clubhouse) in 15 years, whereas a more typical loan would have ran 20 to 30 years. This meant significantly higher payments than normal and in recent years, the course has not generated sufficient revenue to make the payments. The loans have been restructured a couple of times to get caught up on interested and debt service but there hasn't been much principal reduction. Currently, Hickory Ridge generates enough revenue to cover operating expenses but that's it.

Currently the plan is to cover interest payments for the next couple of years until the loan can be restructured again in 2010. The loan's time frame will be extended and yearly payments will drop from around $400,000 to the neighborhood of $200,000, freeing up the difference for needed maintenance and other projects.

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