JACKSON — The golf course at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park in Jackson is undergoing a renovation and the state has ended a contract with the course’s management.
Ramie Ford, parks director for the Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, tells the Clarion-Ledger the golf course should reopen in June.
Ebenezer Group, LLC was hired in 2008 to manage the nine-hole course located off Interstate 55 at Lakeland Drive. Ford said the agency had received complaints about the appearance of the courts and its upkeep.
Ford said Ebenezer was given 60 days April 24 to get the course in shape but Ford says MDWFP “felt like we needed to go ahead and step in.”
“We just felt it best that we didn’t go all the way into the 60 days,” Ford said.
Crews have spent the past two weeks rehabilitating the greens, Ford said.
“Some of it was high grass, but it needed to be fertilized and to have chemical applications. It’s looking much, much better.”
The year-to-year contract with Ebenezer called for the company to pay MDWFP $15,000 annually. The company was to make its money from charging patrons to play on the course. Ford said Ebenezer was expected to maintain, administer and supervise the course.
“They had all the expenses and all the revenue. We leased the operation of the course out to them,” Ford said.
He said Ebenezer was always prompt on its annual payment to the state.
Before Ebenezer took over the course’s management, the state was operating it at an annual loss of about $50,000, MDWFP officials said.
Ebenezer Group president Eric Stringfellow said maintaining the 30-acre facility, including the purchase and leasing of equipment, in the face of no profits doesn’t make business sense.
“Expenses by far outpaced revenues,” he said of the course’s operation.
“We had a great time out there. We gave it the best that we could,” said Stringfellow. “We thought we were doing a public service, because it’s a state park. But the bottom line is, it’s an amenity. It is not a money-making venture.”