City plan to end golf pact canceled Manager of courses agrees to donate more to youth recreation

March 02, 1996|By Eric Siegel | Eric Siegel,SUN STAFF

Baltimore has decided not to end its contract with the #F nonprofit corporation that operates the city's five golf courses in exchange for the organization's commitment to provide more money for youth recreation programs.

Baltimore Municipal Golf Corp. Executive Director Lynnie Cook said yesterday that the corporation has "agreed in principle" to an increased contribution, although he said the amount and terms still had to be negotiated.

City officials notified the corporation last week they have "rescinded" a notice last December calling for an end by July to a long-term agreement with the corporation to manage the courses.

The letter to the golf corporation from Marlyn J. Perritt, director of recreation and parks, and George G. Balog, director of public works, said the termination notice was being canceled because "we are persuaded that BMGC is equally interested in serving not only the golfing public but, to the extent practical, assisting the city in providing for our youth."

The corporation, which has revived the city's golf courses under a 15-year contract negotiated in 1985, gives about $225,000 a year to a youth activities fund, an amount equal to about half the corporation's annual profits.

In explaining in December why he was moving to sever the contract, Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said he wanted to get more of the money generated by greens fees, cart rentals and other golf revenue for youth recreation programs. The city's recreation department has been hard hit by budget cuts in recent years and the city faces another difficult budget year.

The December termination notice -- which the golf corporation vowed to fight in court -- drew an outpouring of calls and letters of support for the corporation from golfers who praised it for turning the city's once-tattered courses into well-respected showpieces.

Mr. Cook said, "Now that the mayor's staff has had time to review our financial situation, they realize this is not a limitless fund."

"The only thing we regret is that we couldn't have done this face-to-face in December instead of receiving this unanticipated bolt out of the blue," he added, referring to the termination notice.

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