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City course: Fourth year of profits

By Staff
PRO SHOP – Bob Rawson, left, rings up sales to William H. Perry, right, James Dillard and Les McClinton at Lakeview Golf Course over the weekend. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
Aug. 12, 2002
The people who run Meridian's only municipal golf course say it looks like a fourth straight year of profits is around the corner.
Mark Naylor, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department, said business has been great at Lakeview Golf Course near Long Creek Reservoir.
Lakeview is an 18-hole public golf course that includes a driving range, three putting greens, a pro shop and a snack bar. It is open seven days a week with greens fees starting at $10 for each round.
There are currently five full-time employees and several part-time workers. Last week, the Meridian City Council voted to amend the golf course's budget to add more part-time workers and re-stock the pro shop all at a cost of $35,000.
The mid-year changes were made because city officials expect the course to make $415,000, about $35,000 more than it originally projected.
City departments start working on their budgets a year in advance. The Meridian City Council approves the final budget in September.
The city's current fiscal year ends Sept. 30. City officials have started working on next year's budget but have yet to set a date for the first public hearing.
The success of the golf course comes at a time when city officials have announced plans for a $35 million retirement community that will be built on 1,314 acres surrounding Long Creek Reservoir, including Lakeview.
In December, officials from Arkansas-based Cooper Land Development Inc. announced plans to develop a gated retirement community on the city-owned property in southeast Lauderdale County.
The group plans to build more than 3,000 homes and two championship golf courses one of which will be private and replace Lakeview.
Cooper then plans to build the city a new municipal course near Bonita's upper lake and along Highway 45.
The Meridian City Council is expected to sign a final contract with Cooper some time this month.
Naylor said the prospect of the new municipal course has his department looking even closer at having to replace the course's golf carts.

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