LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Golfers in Little Rock spent Wednesday getting in final rounds at two of the city’s municipal golf courses after mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced War Memorial and Hindman Parks would close to duffers by next month.
“We're talking about the future of Little Rock,” Mayor Scott said following a speech to the Political Animals Club of Little Rock at the Governor’s mansion.
“We can't sustain four golf courses in the city of Little Rock. We can sustain two.”
It's part of the budget deal passed by the city board of directors last month that closes a deficit and saves $2 million.
Golf will go on at Rebsamen Golf Course and The First Tee of Central Arkansas, but after a scheduled tournament wraps up July 7th, venerable War Memorial will shut down.
Hindman in the southern part of town also will close.
“I think the city is making a big mistake,” said Terry Green, a retiree and frequent golfer at War Memorial. He spoke to the city board Tuesday for the first time in his life but said he felt like members had already made up their minds.
“They're going to have to spend money, a large amount of money, to save money on these golf courses,” Green said.
The mayor says all that land will be put to good use. He sketched out some ideas and a task force will be formed to make suggestions.
Interim Programs will be in place with facilities for other sports on the horizon to replace the revenue from greens fees and cart rentals.
“You’ll have mountain biking and you could see more parks and trails systems to have a true connection between Hindman park as well as War Memorial park from a running perspective,” the mayor said.
In the mayor’s speech, he called himself a proud millennial, and those new sports fit with his vision of the city. For Green, he’s not about to take up running, and when the courses close, he may look for another sport as well.
“I may not play anywhere else. I may quit and take fishing up again,” he said.
Mayor Scott spent time on social media after the Tuesday meeting to answer people's questions and complaints, including concerns over parking and tailgating for Razorbacks games.
He said the agreement with the University of Arkansas remains in place and will be part of future plans.
On Thursday, the City of Little Rock began surveying residents about recreational use for both War Memorial and Hindman Golf Courses. The survey can be found here.