On Friday night, Feb. 7, I went out to eat at a local business. As I visited with the owner of that business, it became apparent that the business is going to close unless something is done quickly by our community. That business is the Root River Country Club.

From a golfer's perspective, the closing of the Root River Country Club would be sad for our community. Our fathers and grandfathers built the golf course in the 1960's. I don't believe they knew how good a job they did. Until recently the golf course was not a small business, it was owned by shareholders. As a shareholder, I took my turn as president of the course during the 1980's. The Minnesota Golf Association reviews Minnesota courses periodically. Their feeling at that time was Root River was maybe the nicest nine-hole course south of the Twin Cities. The clubhouse has been a site for reunions, receptions, parties, and business events for 50 years. The course serves the school district for both the golf and cross-country teams during the school year. During the summer the city summer rec program will have between 30 and 40 younger kids getting exposed to golf and fresh air during the week. The restaurant serves good food at reasonable prices close to home. The past two years the present owner has made many nice improvements to both the course and the clubhouse. Our community will miss the amenities and convenience of this venue.

From a business owner and homeowner perspective, our community will miss the golf course on a variety of levels. Rochester's Destination Medical Center will have a "ripple effect" on the surrounding communities. As more people move to the Rochester area they will make decisions about where to live. After checking out a community's school system the next item most people check out are recreational opportunities. As I said the golf course serves as a "recreational opportunity" in many ways and attracts people to our community. As a banker, carpenter, electrician, plumber, grocer, or service provider of any kind, the more people we can attract to our community the more vibrant our community. This benefits us all socially, economically, and allows us to enjoy a better quality of life.

The present owner of the course needs to make plans for the upcoming season. He needs a certain level of support from our community in the form of memberships to justify making those plans. If you have been a member, please consider joining again. Please call the Root River Country Club at (507) 346-2501 to find out the different ways you can support this community small business.

Jim Parker