The approval from the Alexandria City Council will allow the club to install a 12-inch irrigation well on its property for the yet-to-be-constructed par-3 course, also known as the “Little Darling Project.” The new course will be operated as a separate entity from the Alexandria Golf Club and no operational funds from the current core golf course will be used to support the new 9-hole course, which will be constructed on 18 of the 50 acres.
The Alexandria Golf Club (AGC) in Alexandria, Minn. will be able to build a new well for a new nine-hole, par-3 golf course, the Echo Press reported.
The council granted the AGC an exemption from the city’s prohibition of drilling any new private wells for domestic or industrial use, the Echo Press reported. This will allow the AGC to install a 12-inch irrigation well on its property for the yet-to-be-constructed par-3 course, referred to as the “Little Darling Project.”
The ALP Utilities Board of Public Utilities and the council take into account several criteria when reviewing exemption applications, the Echo Press reported. They include:
• Availability of a water service stub (which there is);
• Proof that city water is detrimental to property or operations; and
• Relationship of the exemption to the city’s wellhead protection plan.
On a 4-1 vote, the council allowed the exemption based on the criteria and these other findings of fact:
• AGC’s application suggests that city water is not appropriate for golf course turfgrass irrigation;
• The Board of Public Utilities considered the application and voted 3-2 to recommend the council to grant the exemption;
• AGC’s concerns about the use of city water for golf course turfgrass irrigation is evidence that municipal water would be detrimental to AGC’s property or operations, and this outweighs the following facts – the water service stub serving AGC is adequate to meet the AGC’s need; the Minnesota Department of Health opposes such wells; and other properties in the city have successfully used city water for irrigation purposes.
Council member Roger Thalman opposed the exemption, the Echo Press reported. He said there are golf courses, such as one in Marshall, that use city water for irrigation. In its application, the AGC said that city water would have a high mineral content that is less optimal for turfgrass, landscape plant and landscape wells. “Using municipal water to irrigate the Little Darling par-3 course would be inefficient, costly and arguably, a poor use of natural resources available to the community,” said Jerry Rose, Little Darling Project chair and AGC board member, in a letter to the city.
Mayor Bobbie Osterberg, who doesn’t vote unless to break a tie, expressed several concerns about allowing the exemption, the Echo Press reported. She said every time a well punctures a hole in the aquifer, it increased the risk of contamination. She said the AGC’s argument that city water would be detrimental to the golf course was based on “anecdotal” and “light-weight” evidence.
The new course will be operated as a separate entity from the AGC and no operational funds from the current core golf course will be used to support the Little Darling par-3 course, the Echo Press reported.
The AGC’s long-term vision is to partner with neighboring schools, such as Voyager Elementary, to create additional learning and outside enjoyment for students, Rose said.
Alexandria Golf Club owns approximately 50 acres of property located to the south of its maintenance facility, driving range and hole 8 and 9 of the existing golf course, the Echo Press reported. The property was leased as farmland for many years and has been placed in the Conservation Reserve Program in recent years.
The AGC plans to build the course on approximately 18 of the 50 acres. According to the AGC, the natural topography of the property “is magnificent and will be an incredible venue for a world class par-3 course that will provide significant benefits to our community, our youth, and our local businesses.”