Riverside Golf Course is Portland’s best year-round recreational facility, and I would urge city councilors not to hand it over to private management.

I also challenge City Hall to prove its claim that in some years, the golf course loses money. It’s clear to anyone that Riverside’s revenue far exceeds what the city puts into the two golf courses. The cost of construction was paid by the federal government during the Great Depression, and the city has provided little in the way of extravagances since that time.

The greens staff over the years has been cut to the bone, and that is the only reason historic Riverside does not rank among the best around. The manager, greenskeeper, golf pro and others are very capable, and they work extremely hard. They have to, because there are so few of them left after all the budget cuts. I am convinced the current arrangement is the most efficient and profitable method for running the golf course, and the real problem lies with City Hall accounting methods.

If councilors object to aspects of the course’s management, take that up with staff. Tinker if you will with the formula that has worked well for 80 years, but don’t give away the only city park that earns money and has the potential to be much more.

The Presumpscot River floods Riverside a few times annually. We golfers accept this, along with the many other quirks that come with belonging to a municipal course. Instead of taking the narrow view that we should unload the course, Portland should take pride in it for what it is: one of the most productive pieces of flood plain in New England.