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3/31/2009 - Hamilton Golf Center to Open this Month

(Hamilton) – “Fore” is a sound that local golfers will hear this spring at the Hamilton Township Golf Center. Hamilton Township Mayor John F. Bencivengo announced today that the Township will open the Golf Center later this month and operate on a self-sufficient basis.

The driving range at the Golf Center will open to residents by April 20, 2009. And in May, the miniature golf course will be ready for use. Unlike the previous operators, the Township will not sell golf merchandise or provide golf lessons.

The proposed hours of operation are scheduled to be as follows:

April 20 – May 15
Weekdays: 12 pm – 7 pm Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm Sunday: 12 pm – 7 pm

May 16 – September 30
Weekdays: 10 am – 9 pm Saturday: 10 am – 9 pm Sunday: 10 am – 8 pm

October 1 – October 24
Weekdays: 12 pm – 7 pm Saturday: 10 am – 7 pm Sunday: 12 pm – 7 pm

Residents using the driving range will be charged $4 for a small bucket of golf balls and $6 for a large bucket under the Township’s plan. For miniature golf, admittance would be $5 for adults and $3 for children 12 years of age or younger.

“Knowing that many residents of the community enjoy using the driving range or playing miniature golf at the center, we made every effort to examine whether the Township could temporarily operate the facility on a self-sufficient basis. We did not want residents to suffer because of the former operator’s failure to pay rent and taxes,” stated Mayor Bencivengo.

Township officials conducted a thorough examination of the anticipated costs and likely revenues from operating the Golf Center. The Township determined that they would be able to recoup the costs of operating the facility through the fees they plan to charge for use of the driving range and miniature golf. Therefore, the center will be self-sufficient and not impact the Township’s budget.

The Past Cost to Hamilton Taxpayers
In September of 2008, Hamilton Township moved to evict the previous operators of the facility, who leased the center from the Township. The previous operators owed more than $233,000 in rent, unpaid taxes and late payment penalties to the Township.

“We could not allow the previous owners to continue to profit at a $233,000 expense to the taxpayers of Hamilton,” explained Mayor Bencivengo. “In temporarily operating this facility, we are only looking to provide our residents with a recreational opportunity that so many enjoy, without impacting the Township’s budget.”

Further Down the Course
The Township’s operation of the facility is only a temporary plan, as further discussions of potential uses will be considered.

“Down the road, the plans may change, but for now, residents will be able to enjoy the facility this year,” summarized Mayor Bencivengo.