MWRD to take bigger bite from golf course revenue

An 'Out of Space' concert at Canal Shores last year.

Evanston aldermen tonight are scheduled to approve a resolution to settle financial disputes with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District over activities at the Canal Shores Golf Course.

The MWRD contends that some activities at the course -- including Northwestern University football gameday parking, last year's Out of Space concerts at the course and the sale of alcoholic beverages -- were not properly authorized under the agency's regulations

The property is owned by the MWRD and leased to the city The city subleases it to the Evanston Wilmette Golf Course Association, which does business under the Canal Shores name.

The MWRD is demanding a quarter of the $243,401 in revenue the golf course received over the past three years from Northwestern University for the game-day parking plus all the $16,680 in revenue received by Canal Shores for last year's concerts.

The agency already receives 25 percent of regular city parking lot revenue from the golf course and  25 percent of the annual net income from operation of the golf course.

To resolve the dispute, city staff is proposing that the city pay the $77,510.25 the agency is demanding, with Northwestern University to contribute $10,000 and Canal Shores to eventually repay the city for the rest.

Half the payment from Canal Shores would to be paid in cash over seven years, the remainder would be covered by the golf course providing in-kind services over five years -- including free golf instruction to qualified low-income children who are Evanston residents and job opportunities through the Mayor's Summer Youth Employment Program.

Going forward, the agreement would require the university to seek a permit from the MWRD directly for the game day parking, with the city consenting to the lease.

It would also require the city to request an amendment of the lease with the MWRD to permit the city to host concerts and festivals at the property and to permit the sale and consumption of alcohol on the property in connection with golf course operations and other events.

Under that arrangement the city would become the sponsor of the four Out of Space concerts planned for the golf course this August.



Alcohol Sales

It came as a surprise to read that MWRD claims that the golf course was allegedly selling beer and alcoholic beverages. Generally, patrons were directed to visit the American Legion Post which is licensed to sell such beverages.