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      Ball up in the air over Westview Golf Course expansion

      The Quincy Park District is the driver behind a proposed Westview Golf Course expansion in Quincy.

      Tuesday night, the Quincy Park District along with Westview's golf director outlined details to improve Quincy's sole public golf course.

      The plan would redevelop the back nine holes and create a driving range/practice facility.

      But that plan wasn't too popular among the more than 50 people who turned out for Tuesday night's public forum.

      Right now, a putting green is the only tool golfers have to warm up before stepping onto the golf course. But the Quincy Park District's plan would change that.

      Not everyone likes that idea, especially the Knights of Columbus located just north on 36th Street.

      "I just don't want to see them be in competition with us," Knights of Columbus District Director Verne Hagstrom said. " We already have a driving range. We have a Par 3 golf course. The driving range does good, but the Par 3 golf course is losing money. There's no sense of them trying to compete with us. We'll both lose money.

      The plan would cost about $500,000 at the most.

      Westview Golf Director and PGA Golf Pro Matt Burry told Tuesday night's crowd that the number of golfers is decreasing nation wide. He said the expansion proposal could help create and recruit new golfers, which would increase revenue. The golf pro would give private lessons at the new range, which also could boost revenue.

      The park district said it would use $300,000 in bonds to pay for the project. The organization would use revenue from lesson fees, increased usage and the driving range to pay off the costs. But....

      "In my mind, this is a risk," Quincy Park District John Frankenhoff said. "If it doesn't follow through, if the finances don't work out, where does the burden lie? It's back on the taxpayers, and we did that for 15 years."

      The Quincy Park District told Tuesday's crowd not to expect an immediate decision on the proposal.

      The board isn't expected to make a final decision until about five to six months from now.