Big Driver Tentatively Set to Open Week of June 4 - The Missourian: News

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Big Driver Tentatively Set to Open Week of June 4

Parks Department Is New Manager

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Posted: Sunday, May 27, 2012 8:00 am | Updated: 7:16 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

The Big Driver driving range and mini golf course, now under operation of the Washington Parks Department, is tentatively set to open the week of June 4.

Parks Director Darren Dunkle said parks staff have been interviewing applicants this week to fill positions. Applications were due May 18.

“We’ve made some job offers to some individuals,” he told The Missourian Wednesday, noting that about six people will work at Big Driver depending on the hours they are available.

Meanwhile, park crews have been making repairs to the driving range and mini golf course as well as mowing grass, weeding, fixing lights and performing irrigation work.

“We also had to order range baskets, golf balls, and a few mats,” Dunkle said.

Big Driver had a ball picker already, but Wolf Hollow Golf Course donated a used ball picker for Big Driver, too.

Once open, hours at Big Driver will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

At the end of October, park officials will look at changing hours of operation during the winter months.

Big Driver is located off of Grand Avenue near Lions Lake.

The parks department officially took over operations of the facility after the Washington City Council May 7 approved a lease agreement between the city and L.B. Eckelkamp Jr. and Bonnie J. Eckelkamp, who own the land that Big Driver sits on.

The lease agreement calls for the city to pay the Eckelkamps $1 per year. The lease can be renewed on a year-by-year basis.

Tom Dill, former manager of Big Driver, approached the parks director and park board about a month ago to see if they had an interest in running Big Driver.

Dill told Dunkle that he no longer planned to operate the facility but hated to see it not being used anymore.

The driving range and mini golf course will provide additional recreational activities for park users, according to Dunkle.

All revenue from Big Driver will go to the city, Dunkle explained. Because the facility is opening later than normal in the season, Dunkle said he hopes the city will break even after the first year of operating Big Driver.

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