Deferred maintenance improvements at the county-owned property include work on holes 1 through 3 and realignment of hole 7 for safety; driving range practice area improvements; and cart path improvements for the entire golf course. “It’s fundamental to what we should be doing with all assets—taking care of maintenance first,” County Manager Steven Lynne says.
Los Alamos, N.M. County Council acted voted 5-1 Dec. 13 to improve the county-owned golf course, the Los Alamos Daily Post reported. Regarding the Los Alamos County Golf Course, Council agreed to:
– Prioritize maintenance of the golf course facility and select none of the Phase 2 design concept options at this time; and that administrative management controls continue to be used at the driving range for safety.
– Add scope to the Phase 1 golf course site improvement project, prior to being re-bid, and address the additional safety and maintenance needs that remain unaddressed by Phase 1 as follows: deferred maintenance improvements for holes 1 through 3 and realignment of hole 7 for safety; driving range practice area improvements; cart path improvements for entire golf course; and return to Council with a budget revision required to accomplish all needed maintenance and improvements at the time of bid award.
– Request separate bids for a high fence on the existing driving range that prevents balls from leaving the range.
Council followed County Manager Steven Lynne’s recommendation to not pursue the proposed design options at this time but focus on deferred maintenance, the Daily Post reported.
“I wanted to share a little perspective of what I’m recommending here as County Manager … I share a lot of mixed feelings … there have been a lot of ups and downs on this project over the past 10 years … and certainly over the past 10 weeks and 10 days. It was not an easy decision …,” Lynne said.
During that time there was a lot of debate that this wasn’t a new project but existing maintenance, the Daily Post reported. Deferred maintenance is a big focus for the County, Lynne added.
“It’s fundamental to what we should be doing with all assets—taking care of maintenance first,” Lynne said.
Councilor David Reagor, who made the motion that council approved, explained why he wanted to include a request for bids on the fence at the driving range, the Daily Post reported.
“We should include this extra bidding process to try to get bids on the fence but not link that to the immediate work preparing the course and doing all the deferred maintenance on the course … and then all the previous investment in the irrigation system stays the same because we’re going to use the course the way it is and then all these improvements are for the course in its current format, in its current layout,” he said. “So we haven’t wasted either the current irrigation system [and] any other deferred maintenance wasn’t wasted either and then we’ll address the safety issues in the separate round, in the separate bid.”
Councilor David Izraelevitz explained he opposed the motion because it didn’t address the safety concerns at the course, the Daily Post reported.
“I appreciate that the golfers want to take care of what we have,” he said. “I think we all want to take care of what we have. What we have is a safety issue as much as and maybe more than we have cart path issues, ADA accessibility and as much as we have greens and drainage, we have a safety issue and I feel like we have to take care of that somehow. I don’t see any solution tonight that would address that … this does not address it either.”
Others on council supported the motion, the Daily Post reported. Council Chair Randall Ryti said he felt the options for the course are limited and the one council approved was the best course of action.
“We’re limited in what options we can have so I think this is the best tool we can use with the golf course and … hopefully will address the issue going on now for 10-20 years and we can actually see the maintenance that’s needed and improvements to the course …,” he said.
Golfers and members of the public voiced support for council’s decision, the Daily Post reported.
“The golf course improvement effort, which has languished for 15 years, will move forward,” Los Alamos resident Kurt Anast told the Daily Post. “Council made a difficult decision and managed to find a middle ground that will provide for all of the golf course infrastructure improvements and not increase the golf course footprint. So, all interests should be pleased they were able to find a solution.”
“Council explored all of the options, and none were acceptable to all interested parties – golfers, open space, architects,” Anast added. “It was a difficult decision, but it will get the ball rolling – finally.”
Los Alamos resident Kevin Holsapple concurred, the Daily Post reported.
“For the moment last evening, common sense prevailed,” Holsapple told the Daily Post. “The County Council listened to what the involved public had to say and made a decision that demonstrated that public input can be heard, valued, and responded to. It was a bit of positive news after months and multiple meetings of providing pretty much the same input and feeling that the input was not always heard, valued, or responded to.”
While council’s decision seems to have won broad approval in the community, Holsapple told the Daily Post the work is not done.
“It was also a positive experience working with leaders in the local golfing community to identify our common interests and jointly communicate them to the county,” he said. “The decision last night embraced one element of our joint input, but it remains to be seen whether the county will embrace the other two major recommendations that we made [refocusing priorities on taking care of what we have and rezoning the forested areas adjacent to the golf course to OS-PO to preserve their existing character]. I hope they will.”