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Fee increases at Shreveport city golf courses to take effect Jan - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Fee increases at Shreveport city golf courses to take effect January 1st

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTBS) -

After 70 years of golfing, Shreveporter Ken Ramey knows a thing or two about teeing off.

But 82-year-old Ramey's seeing red - about more green - in the form of increased membership fees to use city courses that will take effect January 1st, 2014.

"The city golf course is always cheaper than what the private courses are or the country clubs."

According to a membership application, annual rates for seniors will increase from $420 to $600 dollars a year.

Or from $210 to $400 every six months.

"Somehow or another, they're somewhere down the line, [the city is] running golfers away from city courses," Ramey says.

City courses like Querbes and the currently being renovated Huntington Park, the only two courses operated and maintained by Shreveport Public Assembly and Recreation (SPAR).

But as tough as the increases may be to accept, the city says there was simply no way around it, because even with the new fees, there's no revenue produced through the courses, and the city says they're just breaking even.

"We've invested a lot of money, maybe $5 million in the last 3 years, into these golf courses," says District C City Councilman Oliver Jenkins, whose district encompasses Querbes Park.

Jenkins that, when budgeting for 2014, areas like city infrastructure and public safety must be prioritized ahead of golf courses.

The city says all the money that's generated by the courses goes directly back into their maintenance.

"We have not had a significant fee increase in over 7 years. We had a 50 cent increase 7 years ago," explains SPAR Director Shelly Ragle.

Ragle acknowledges the increase may be hard to digest, but says Shreveport's fees are still cheaper than at courses in many other cities our size.

"You have two golf courses for one membership."

"Many of the senior citizens that play here are on a fixed income and can't afford that kind of an increase," Ramey says.

Ragle says the city didn't feel comfortable justifying an increase in fees until both Querbes and Huntington Park could be renovated.

An $800,000 clubhouse is under construction at Querbes, and Huntington is set to open in the spring after nearly $2.5 million in renovations.

The new annual golf membership fee for people ages 18 to 61 is increasing from $720 to $1000 and the new semi-annual rate will go from $360 to $600.

A family of two can join for $1200 a year, or $850 for six months.

Memberships are good for use at both city golf courses.

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