As Grand Canyon University continues its efforts to revitalize West Phoenix and the surrounding communities, a new agreement with the city offers students and residents in this area a new attraction.
“We want to make West Phoenix a golf destination,” said GCU president and CEO Brian Mueller in an interview with GCU Today. “Our intent is to make Maryvale Golf Course a tremendous community asset as well as a tremendous university asset.”
As part of a 30-year operating agreement with the city, GCU will manage the 52-year-old Maryvale Golf Course, located just three miles from campus. GCU is responsible for all operating costs and retains all revenue from the course until it recovers its investment, at which time the city will receive 10 percent of net revenue. GCU will also hold naming rights to the property.
The agreement includes an $8 million investment from GCU to redesign and upgrade the course, its pro shop and restaurant. These upgrades range from tee boxes, brand-new greens, extended fairways, enhanced bunkers, updated practice facilities and a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, among other features.
“The big story is West Phoenix will have a premier golf course in the state,” Mueller tells the Arizona Republic. “It will be all grass. It will have many large trees, beautiful lake areas. We want to give people a reason to come to this side of town.”
An Important Solution to a Large Deficit
For the City of Phoenix, the agreement provides a solution to a struggling golf program.
According to the Arizona Republic, Maryvale generated a little over $1 million in revenue with a deficit of $250,000 in 2014. The year prior it recorded a deficit of $450,000.
Historically, the municipal golf courses belonging to the city have operated under a separate enterprise fund from the general fund supported by taxpayers to cover the costs incurred by the city for their employee salaries and services.
By the end of 2013, the city’s golf fund had accumulated a deficit of about $16 million. In March, the city council voted to eliminate the enterprise fund and move the golf courses to the general fund, while paying off the debt.
The city will continue to set Maryvale greens fees, which range from $16 to $43.
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