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    Tarpon votes to raise rates about $3 at golf course

    The money is needed for a new green and two new bridges on the 13th hole, concrete paths, completion of the golf shop and 30 new palm trees.

    By KATHERINE GAZELLA

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 22, 2000


    TARPON SPRINGS -- Golfers will have to spend a little more money next year at the city golf course.

    Tarpon Springs commissioners have approved price increases of about $3 for the coming year to help pay for continuing improvements at the municipal course.

    "We have no choice," said Juan Cruz, public services director for the city.

    Since the city took control of the course five years ago, this is the third increase for non-residents and the first for residents, said Chuck Winship, manager of the golf course on Alt. U.S. 19, near Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital.

    Rates for non-residents playing 18 holes and renting carts between Jan. 1 and April 30 will risefrom $30 to $33, and from $25 to $28 for residents, he said. Summer rates, which begin May 1, will go up from $20 to $23 for non-residents and from $18 to $20 for residents.

    He said the extra money is needed for a new green and two new bridges on the 13th hole, additional concrete paths, completion of the golf shop and 30 new palm trees. Recent improvements have included a new putting green, a rebuilt green on the second hole, new bridges, a repaved parking lot, additional restrooms on the course and a new irrigation system.

    Winship said that when the city took over five years ago, the course was in bad shape.

    "We've made big changes through the years," he said. "We've got a lot of grass in places we didn't have grass."

    Commissioner Beverley Billiris said she would prefer to raise rates for non-residents and leave the resident rates untouched.

    "I think if we raise these, we're going to lose a lot of our local residents," she said.

    But Winship said the rates need to increase for residents and non-residents for the golf course to continue making improvements.

    He also pointed out that the course is still considerably cheaper than other courses in the area.

    In the end, commissioners voted 4-0, Commissioner Cindy Domino absent, to approve both rate increases.

    - Katherine Gazella can be reached at (727) 445-4182 or gazella@sptimes.com.

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