- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 13, 2015

ONTARIO, Ore. (AP) - After years of subsidizing a golf course and debating what to do about it, the city of Ontario is out of the greens and fairways business.

Its 18-hole course dates to 1964 but has lost money for years - in July, the most recent annual cost was put at more than $300,000.

At the same time, memberships and clubhouse sales were both reported off by 17 percent.

Critics of subsidizing the course said the city of more than 11,000 on Oregon’s eastern border with Idaho has more pressing priorities, such as finding money for seven firefighters and police officers that a study has identified as a need.

Advocates, however, said the course is an amenity that makes the city more attractive for economic development. They note the city has also closed its public pool, a similar blow to the city.

In August, the City Council made the decision to stop subsidizing the golf course, the Ontario Argus Observer (https://bit.ly/14RPAtr ) reported.

Council members said it would be open to suggestions until Dec. 31, and they would begin looking for alternate uses.

“We didn’t receive any more proposals for the golf course,” said Tori Barnett, interim city manager and city recorder. “At this point … we are no longer in the golf business.”

A group of experimental aircraft enthusiasts hopes to make use of the equipment shed once golfers move their carts out. They’ve been given an end-of-February deadline.

Two golf associations say they’re considering forming a nonprofit group and applying for grants to continue operating the course.

The city, though, is moving forward with closing the course: water lines are being drained and gas and electrical use cut to essentials, such as operating a security system.

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Information from: Argus Observer, https://www.argusobserver.com

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