Murphy Park

The miniature golf course at Murphy Park has fallen into disrepair, but the American Legion has proposed to take over operations of the facility.

Putt putt golf might get a push forward at Murphy Park.

On Jan. 9, the Taylor City Council heard on a proposal from American Legion Post 39 about getting the miniature golf course inside the park back in business. The Legion seeks help from the city to accomplish that goal.

The Taylor Lions Club operated and maintained the course before withdrawing from their agreement with the city for those duties. Since then, the city’s Parks and Recreation department has been looking for a replacement to take over that role and also help improve the course.

“We did call some local service organizations, and we met with the American Legion for them to develop their plan,” said Larry Foos, director of Parks and Recreation. “The Parks board voted unanimously to recommend this plan to city council.“

American Legion Post 39 Commander Scott Dean called the miniature golf course an iconic spot in Taylor. He told council members that his organization gets comments regularly about what is going on with the course due to the American Legion Hall’s proximity.

“When Parks and Rec reached out to us,” said Dean, “we as a group thought this was a really good idea that we could bring something back to the city and provide more things in the park for families to do.”

Some ideas the Legion has for the course include a beer garden, concessions and private event rentals. Dean said customer fees to only play on the course would likely not be enough to operate the facility.

“In order to make this a revenue stream and worth the while of a non-profit to do it, there’s got to be some type of return,” said Dean. “We don’t want to do it at a zero-gain because we’re going to have to actually hire employees.”

To help the American Legion maintain its same liquor license with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that they have for the Legion hall, the Legion is asking for an update in their current land lease to add the putt-putt course as a non-contiguous property. Dean also explained how alcohol would not be allowed outside the course after being asked by Councilmember Mitchell Drummond.

“It cannot leave that premises, just like the hall,” said Dean about alcohol. “So, they cannot walk around the park with it. It must be consumed inside the fence.”

In its proposal, the Legion asks for the city to be responsible for fencing upgrades, tree and brush cleanup, drainage repairs and grading, debris removal, and a crosswalk stretching from the course to the American Legion Hall. Dean said the Legion would be responsible for renovating the course’s main building, concrete and golf holes, which would cost approximately $28,000.

Mayor Pro-Tem Dwayne Ariola and Councilmember Robert Garcia, members of the American Legion, both recused themselves from the discussion due to possible conflicts of interest. No specific action was taken at last week’s meeting, although remaining council members voiced no opposition to the proposal.

“I’m excited to see (the American Legion) willing to take the initiative to get this thing going for the city of Taylor,” said Councilmember Gerald Anderson.

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