The economic downturn has forced Richmond officials to make a tough and unpopular decision:
In order to balance the budget for 2009, the board voted to close the 85-year-old, nine-hole course at Glen Miller Park and turn it into a three-hole practice facility.
The board also chose to lease out the maintenance at the 18-hole Highland Lake.
The decision was reached after a public meeting Dec. 10 when speaker after speaker implored the board to find other ways to save money rather than close a course.
I have mixed feelings. The libertarian in me says golf isn't something government should be providing in the first place, or at least it should be way down on the list of priorities after all the necessities are taken care of. But as an urban dweller, I recognize that such amenities are among the things that make a city bearable, even more livable. I've been a bowler rather than a golfer, so I'd have no dog in the hunt if the issue came up here. But anybody can bowl (as long as the league players leave a lane or two open on occasion). Not everybody can afford to join a country club.
I also wonder if this is one of those cases in which officials deliberately do something they know the citizens will hate in an attempt to get them on board with bashing the state for the financial squeeze. Nah, they wouldn't be that devious.