The Canyons at Blackjack Ridge golf course in Sand Springs losing money, city invests in pavilion

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. - The city of Sand Springs just spent tens of thousands of dollars on a local golf course that appears to be hemorrhaging money.

Needless to say it garnered the attention of the 2NEWS Investigators, so we asked for a list of expenses attached to The Canyons at Blackjack Ridge's newly built pavilion.

The 2NEWS Investigators asked for a list of expenses associated with building the new pavilion. The receipts include the purchase of a $4,000 fan, thousands of dollars in lumber and expenses for a number of small-custom-built tables. The total price for supplies to build the pavilion came in at $64,000.

"We do a lot of things with this space. We've held wedding receptions, all kinds of special events, after-hour events. This is rentable," said Grant Gerondale, parks director for the city of Sand Springs.

For three years, the course charged an extra dollar per round played and put that money into a fund, which it used to build the pavilion.

Course fees normally go into the city's general operating fund, but the city manager says the fees help fund day-to-day operations at the Canyons as well.

As for the dollar fee that funded the pavilion, Gerondale says it was well worth it.

"We completed this project that's probably worth about $300,000 -- we did it for $64,000," Gerondale said.

For labor they used their own city employees to build it on and off over six months.

When 2NEWS Investigators asked how many work hours were put in, Gerondale said he didn't know.

"You know we didn't track hours, just like I'm not tracking hours in the time I'm spending to talk to you," he said.

The 2NEWS Investigators crunched some numbers, and found out all that city labor went to a place that was projected to lose $364,000 last year and $275,000 this year, a deficit of more than $600,000.

Britney McGinnis, a Sand Springs resident, questioned the cities priorities when presented with those statistics.

"That doesn't make sense to me," McGinnis said. "A golf course is entertainment and I feel like we don't really need entertainment. We need our police officers more than we need entertainment."

The 2NEWS Investigators found that the police department's budget has fluctuated since the recession hit. During the recession, the department was forced to cut officer positions. Now, the number of officers is back up and the department is fully staffed.

Still, when it comes to pay, Sand Springs police rank as one of the lowest in the metro, even after a recent 3-percent raise. The starting salaries for officers are thousands less than officers in Tulsa, Owasso, Broken Arrow and Bixby.


Mobile users can view a salary comparison here -- http://bit.ly/1ec00Ea

McGinnis' opinion isn't the only one floating around Sand Springs, however. Doug Baldridge, another city resident, says he's in total support of the city's work on the golf course.

"I love it. I love it. As I say, I know it loses a little bit of money, but it's worth the tax dollars," he said.

If you have a tax dollar question or something you would like the Investigators to look into, email us at investigators@kjrh.com.

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