Asbury council considers options for future of Meadows facility

ASBURY, Iowa — Asbury City Council members this week heard cost estimates and further discussed what the next steps would be to turn The Meadows Golf Club into a year-round facility.

The golf course’s primary building has more than $600,000 worth of maintenance projects that will need to be addressed, including work on the roof and deck. The scope of those costs prompted officials to consider more significant moves, such as reconfiguring the entire facility or building a new one.

The structure features a golf pro shop and a bar and grill on the lower level, while the upper level is used as an event center.

“It has been our opinion for a long time that the amount of work that it takes for that part in itself is not highly profitable,” said Meadows General Manager Jeremy Hawkins of the event center.

If city officials decide to go ahead with some of the more ambitious renovations, the top level might be reworked to include indoor golf simulators. Hawkins said there is space for three of them, which could provide more revenue than event rentals currently do.

Though it would be months before the city is ready to begin any renovation work, City Council members have been asked to decide this summer whether it will continue offering rentals, as those events are booked far in advance.

This week, council members were presented with three options: addressing the maintenance issues without changing the club’s business model, making the site improvements and entirely reconfiguring the clubhouse, or building a new structure

Reconfiguring the building would cost an estimated $2.2 million, including the maintenance work. If that project was pursued, Hawkins also said the club could increase hours of operation, offer more golf outings and tournaments and potentially expand the snack bar to a kitchen that could serve as a restaurant for residents.

Building a new structure would cost an estimated $3.1 million.

Council Member Russ Domeyer asked staff for information on how many people in Asbury use the course and whether there are other uses of city funds that could serve more people. He also asked whether the project could wait.

Mayor Jim Adams said other city offerings such as parks don’t generate revenue like the golf course does.

“I think one of the major differences between the library, park, pickleball court, mountain bike trail or whatever is that they’re all entities that generate a higher quality of life and protect property values, but the one thing that’s different about the golf course is it’s something people are actually willing to pay extra to use,” Hawkins said.

City Administrator Beth Bonz said a renovated facility could serve as a draw for new residents.

Council members plan to review additional information and provide guidance on whether to continue offering banquet rentals during a second work session in the coming weeks.