Gala Opening Of Upgraded Skylinks Golf Course
(October 30, 2004) -- VIPs and golf enthusiasts gathered at LB's redesigned and upgraded Skylinks golf course -- now LB's premium public course and renamed "Skylinks @ Long Beach" -- for a gala October 29 reopening after a yearlong course makeover.
Skylinks, adjacent to LB Airport (between Lakewood Blvd. and Clark Ave. from Spring St. to nearly Conant St.) has undergone a $6 million dollar facelift. Its formerly flat layout has been replaced by new, undulating terrain, elegant landscaping and a variety of challenging features.
Vice Mayor Jackie Kell, whose 5th district is home to the course, welcomed the crowd.
"The work of many have resulted in raising this beautiful phoenix out of its long dormant and deteriorating ashes. Now those who fly over or look out from the Marriott or drive by will be able to truly enjoy this new jewel of Long Beach. Skylinks has now moved up from a history of lead to a future of platinum," Vice Mayor Kell said.
City Manager Jerry Miller thanked the Council and city staff. He thanked City Auditor Gary Burroughs (photo below) for his help. "There are very few things we do in this city that are financial that don't involve the Auditor," City Manager Miller said.
He also commended LB's Dir. of Parks, Recreation and Marine, Phil Hester, for his work.
Mr. Hester and a few other speakers mentioned that recent heavy rains had created a few unplanned ponds (i.e. water pooled up in some places)...but those problems are expected to be solved in the coming weeks.
Chairman of the L.A. County Board of Supervisors Don Knabe (center, blue shirt w/ white flowers) congratulated the City of LB on its new course and presented a Proclamation ("a collector's item" since it has the 'old' County seal, he quipped) to city officials including Vice Mayor Kell, Councilmembers Bonnie Lowenthal and Laura Richardson and City Manager Jerry Miller.
American Golf's Chief Operating Officer, Keith Brown, told the crowd, "I was around when the Queen Mary pulled into town...I can remember when the Long Beach Grand Prix first came first came into the streets...and most recently I got to attend the U.S. Olympic Trials for swimming on a swimming stadium built on a parking lot not too far away. It's always been a progressive city."
LB businessman Chris Pook (left, back row, white jacket) alongside LB's retired Dir. of Parks, Rec. & Marine, Ralph Cryder (green sweater). In 1998, Mr. Cryder hired Cal Olson to propose the first conceptual redesign of Skylinks.
Of course we asked Mr. Pook what he could tell us about possible plans for LB's International Sea Festival. He said it was a bit soon to discuss the subject with us. We promised to nag him about it in a few weeks,
Assistant City Manager Christine Shippey (photo left, blazer & sunglasses) and Phil Hester, Dir. of LB Dept. of Parks, Recreation & Marine (also wearing sunglasses).
Assemblyman (and former Assembly Speaker) Herb Wesson caucuses with 6th district Councilwoman Laura Richardson.
City Auditor Gary Burroughs (center, in blue shirt).
Braden Phillips (gray coat), LBPD Manager, Administration Bureau and Robert Torrez (white slacks), former City Hall CFO/Budget Director
Tom Shippey, Manager of LB Parks, Rec & Marine's Maintenance Bureau.
LBFD Chief Dave Ellis with LB Golf Hall of Famer and former LB Golf Commissioner Dan Gooch.
LB Golf Commissioner Bob Peeters displays a framed color rendering of the new course presented to Golf Commissioners by city management for supporting the Skylinks upgrade.
Commissioner Peeters says the new course is impressive...but bristles over its new, higher fees (although they've been lowered somewhat from larger hikes originally proposed). "They're using golfers to help pay down City Hall's deficit," he told LBReport.com.
City Hall financed the Skylinks upgrade by floating bonds that it says can be repaid from increased revenue from higher course fees (Skylinks is now LB's priciest course) and increased patronage (attracting LB Airport arrivals to play the improved course). Skylinks also implements a surcharge ($2 for 18 holes, $1 per 9 holes) to generate funds for the Golf Capital Improvement Fund used to finance the bonds.
If city management's revenue projections for the new Skylinks course fall short, the General Fund could be responsible for the bond payments.
LBReport.com has posted details of LB's new tiered golf fee structure for all LB municipal courses (including Skylinks) in pdf form. To view these details, click New LB Golf Fees & Pricing Structure.
The October 29 opening was a charity event...and produced this $18,000 check payable to Long Beach Junior Golf Programs from the Cal Olson Charity Golf Tournament Players.
Raffle tickets were also sold.
VIPs were invited to take a collective first putt. Vice Mayor Kell and Councilwoman Lowenthal get ready.
Supervisor Knabe prepares alongside Assemblyman Wesson.
City Manager Jerry Miller does due diligence.
Here they go...
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