Kilgore fire department to take over operation of golf course -, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Kilgore fire department to take over operation of golf course

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Kilgore is hoping for a hole in one by putting a local golf course under the direction of the fire department.

City officials say the Meadowbrook Golf Course in Kilgore is struggling financially, so they are taking a swing at a unique way to save money while supporting the community. The course will soon be under the management of the city of Kilgore, falling under the umbrella of the fire department.

"The city is subsidizing several thousand dollars every year on this. We're fortunate enough as a fire department to be able to enhance and come out and assist the current staff," says Kilgore Fire Chief Johnny Bellows.

On a voluntary basis, firefighters will staff the course clubhouse.

"We're here to make this course run a little bit better and more efficiently. If the people we bring out to the course are needed, we're able to send them out also. They'll be here two at a time, and then they rotate during the day," Bellows says.

And the chief is moving offices into the clubhouse.

In two man shifts, on-duty firefighters will be assigned to Meadowbrook, but not to perform traditional firefighter duties.

"We'll do maintenance work, we'll help out with the chef if we need to serve tables, wait tables, help out with the janitorial services. We do not in any way jeopardize the safety or our response to the community," says Bellows.

For firefighters, its not bad duty.

"We are so excited about it, to be able to come out and intermingle with the community and have the community see us, we're really looking forward to it," says Kilgore firefighter Kelly Vestal.

But is this the best way to utilize taxpayer dollars and firefighters?

"I think its the best way to use taxpayer dollars, for us to do more than one job," Bellows says.

The city will officially take over management of the course on December 2.

Current employees will become City of Kilgore personnel.

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