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APRC votes to increase Ashland golf course fees

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission recommended a $1 fee increase and elimination of the senior rate at Oak Knoll Golf Course. file photo

The Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission recommended a $1 fee increase and elimination of the senior rate at Oak Knoll Golf Course during its Feb. 9 business meeting.

Discussion of an increase in fees for reserved space on Calle Guanajuato was postponed to APRC’s March 2 business meeting.

Oak Knoll Golf Course Manager Patrick Oropallo said that compared to two Medford golf courses (Quail Point and Stewart Meadows) “it became clear that our fees had fallen behind despite the fee increase that we implemented in 2020.”

“At that time, we chose to implement a smaller, more frequent approach as opposed to one larger increase,” Oropallo said.

The comparison showed that Oak Knoll’s senior fees (for those 55 and older) lagged behind other facilities with similar rate structures, Oropallo said, recommending the adoption of a new fee structure with no senior rate and $1 increase to nine- and 18-hole fees.

The senior rate was $15 for nine holes and $23 for 18 holes. Under the new structure, the adult rate will be $18 and $26, respectively.

“The new fee structure will position Oak Knoll as still the best value in the Rogue Valley despite the increase,” Oropallo said.

The rising cost of goods and services used in the operation of the golf course supported the fee increase, he said. By unanimous vote of APRC, the fee increase will take effect March 1, pending approval by Ashland City Council.

“It’s important that we do whatever we can to maximize — in a reasonable way — our revenue, and this does that,” APRC Chair Rick Landt said. “I’m still hoping for 100% cost recovery, and you can’t do that when you are lagging behind on your fees.”

Consideration of a 7% fee increase for reserved space on the Calle Guanajuato and Lithia Artisans Market was postponed to March 2, to allow time to update information in the staff report and notify restaurateurs about the option to speak at the meeting, Parks Director Michael Black said.

APRC unanimously approved extending the policy deadline for approving Calle contracts from Feb. 28 to March 15.

The Feb. 9 meeting packet included a proposal to raise fees to $8.56 per square foot for seven-day-a-week access, $5.35 per square foot for five days per week, and $5.89 per square foot for the Lithia Artisans Market.

The proposed 7% increase is based on the January 2022 Consumer Price Index-West, which reported a 7.7% increase in area prices compared to last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Rescheduled for March 2, the agenda item is slated to cover approval of the boundary map and space requests for the 2022 Calle Guanajuato season, use of front Lithia Park for the artisans market, fee increase, extension of the operating season to March 12-Dec. 31, and “off season” agreements and fees, according to the Feb. 3 staff report.

“Once the agreements are approved, staff, restaurant owners and the manager of the Lithia Artisans Market collaborate on implementation to address any issues or concerns and to avoid conflicts prior to the season opening,” according to the staff report.