Guest commentary - Contract terminated. What are the potential impacts?

nefeeder's picture

The Challis Golf Association’s Management Agreement with the City of Challis has been terminated.

The next meeting of the Challis City Council is on Election Day, Tuesday, November 8, at 7 p.m. at City Hall.

We plan on attending that meeting, right after we vote, as we have serious concerns about the impact this could have for the community and our business.

Why should you attend this meeting?

The Challis Golf Association (CGA) has managed the Challis Golf Course for over 20 years. In that time, the facility has expanded greatly, with the addition of the clubhouse, driving range and the community stage. All paid for from revenue generated by the CGA and donations. Not one dime of taxpayer money has been spent on the Challis Golf Course, despite the City of Challis having owned the facility since 1996.

Under management of the CGA, the facility has paid its own way. It operates in the black and reinvests all profits back into the facility for the benefit of the entire community.

This past season the Challis Golf Course generated $13,000 in “out-of-town” green fees alone (nearly 1,000 rounds) from visitors who traveled to and through Challis.

Many of those people come to Challis, play a round of golf, eat at local restaurants, fill their vehicles at local gas stations and stay at RV parks and motels before leaving our community. Many return every year to play our beautiful golf course, which is one of the best 9-hole facilities in the state of Idaho.

The current Braun Brother Reunion (BBR) contract is between the Brauns and the CGA, and if the Association no longer manages the golf course, driving range and community stage for the City of Challis, then the BBR contract is likely no longer valid.

For 13 years the Association and the BBR have worked very closely together to help make the event beneficial for the entire community.

If you are a business owner in Challis, Idaho, we don’t need to tell you what the second week in August means to your business. But you don’t have to own a business to be concerned about this situation.

By some estimates, the BBR’s impact to the Challis economy could be as high as $1.5 million in sales alone, which does not include indirect revenue. For example, increased roaming and cellular bandwidth revenue for Custer Telephone (which is substantial) or increased electricity consumption by RV hookups.

The Challis Area Chamber of Commerce raises more money during the BBR by hosting tent sites than any of its other yearly fundraising events. The HUB has its largest week of the year during the BBR. The Sorority raises the majority of its money from running the food booth during the BBR. The Senior Center raises the majority of its funds during BBR. And last year the Challis High School Baseball team raised money parking cars at the BBR.

These monies stay in the community for the benefit of the entire community.

Revenue generated by the Challis Golf Course during the BBR is crucial to the ongoing operation and maintenance of the facility, which as mentioned above, generates thousands of dollars in revenue for the businesses of Challis every year.

As business owners, Vicky and I understand what huge assets the Challis Golf Course, the Challis Golf Association, and the Braun Brother Reunion are to our community. And with the recent changes in our local mining industry, these assets become even more crucial to our entire community.

In 2016 the BBR had a record year, and accordingly, so did the Challis Golf Course. Now the City of Challis has terminated the management agreement with the Challis Golf Association, and in so doing, has put the future of both the Challis Golf Course and the Braun Brother Reunion in Challis at risk.

We would like to encourage you to make the time to attend the next city council meeting with us. Plan your schedule on November 8 to vote early and then attend the council meeting at 7 p.m.

Larry and Vicky Weiner are owners of the Y-Inn Café and Lounge in Challis.

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