Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke and the private corporation that runs the city's golf courses today ended their dispute over the corporation's profits by establishing a $225,000 annual fund for children's recreation programs.
The agreement, approved today by the Board of Estimates, amends a 15-year lease signed in 1985 that turned over the city's five golf courses to the Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp.
The agreement by the golf corporation to pay into the fund would begin next July and could be renegotiated every five years, beginning in 1996.
The "activity fund" will be used to pay for city teams -- from ball clubs to chess, moot court and debating teams -- to participate in championship tournaments outside the city. Currently, those teams are left to scramble for money if they are invited to out-of-town competitions.
"This agreement shouldn't have an impact on the golfing community," Schmoke said. "And establishing an activity fund for our children is a positive move."
Golf corporation Director William L. Cook 2nd said today he was pleased with the recreation fund, which he called "an exciting idea."
The fund will be administered jointly by the head of the golf corporation and the city's recreation and parks director.Any disputes will be settled by the mayor, the agreement says.
The original lease, signed when William Donald Schaefer was mayor, required the golf corporation to operate the golf courses without city funds, but it made no provision for returning any profits to the city.
Since learning that the golf corporation made $800,000 after expenses last year, Schmoke and City Council President Mary Pat Clarke have been trying to obtain some of the funds for the city's decaying recreation programs.
But until this week, the corporation refused.
Last month, the golf corporation posted notices at its golf courses, claiming the city was holding it "hostage" for refusing to approve construction projects for a fire hydrant and a clubhouse at city golf courses.