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Golf fees to go up in 2022, while Olmsted Parks seeks endowment fund for sustained funding

WBFO File Photo

The warnings during the summer to go outside in COVID times apparently helped the Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy, with its finances listed as…“all right.” The Conservancy goes before the Buffalo Common Council Tuesday to gain approval of its 2022 spending plan, which includes an increase in golf fees for 2022.

For many residents, the big item they will notice is golf greens fees, proposed up one dollar per round, after no hike this year, and an increase from $270 to $300 for adult season passes for the Conservancy's three golf courses.

“It was a pretty good year for golf and so we are proposing that we take up fees a little teeny smidge,” said Conservancy Executive Director Stephanie Crockatt. “We did only raise season passes last year and for the second year in a row we are not asking for any increases to rental fees in any of the park facilities.”

Crockatt says the conservancy is working on repairing the landmark steps which carry pedestrians from Lincoln Parkway down to the embankment of Hoyt Lake or up from the lake toward the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. She says major work on the landmark Gates Circle fountain is in the works, as the city ponders traffic on Delaware Avenue and replacing some of the long-gone historic lights around the circle.

There will be state-mandated hourly pay raises for seasonal workers. In the meantime, what the Conservancy is now seeking to help them cover the costs of various projects is an endowment fund.

“It's practicality. We need to be a little bit more practical,” Crockatt said. “All of the other cultural institutions have endowments or some type of rainy day nest egg. We don't, and we need to, especially when these parks are so important to so many people. We need to make sure that they are around and well cared for, for everyone for generations. That's our mission.”

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.