Tidal flooding has plagued the Ocean City, Md. property for years. Golf Course Superintendent Joe Perry says the course experienced more than $70,000 in lost income for a four-and-a-half-day closure in October 2019 and one of the course’s biggest events was affected in 2021.
If all goes as planned, a $2.85 million flood-remediation project will address ongoing issues at Eagles Landing Golf Course in Ocean City, Md., Ocean City Today reported. The project will be initially financed through municipal bonds and completed in fiscal 2025.
Tidal flooding has for years plagued holes 7, 8, 9, 10, 17 and 18 at the course, at times forcing closures resulting in lost revenues, Ocean City Today reported. Golf Course Superintendent Joe Perry, who recently announced his retirement, said during a council work session Jan. 31 that the course experienced more than $70,000 in lost income for a four-and-a-half-day closure in October 2019.
Flooding occurred again in October 2021 during the annual Swing for Youth tournament, which Perry said is one the course’s biggest events, Ocean City Today reported.
Floods have also caused damage to other parts of the course, which Perry demonstrated with a video of saltwater running into the irrigation ponds and contaminating the water used to irrigate the course, Ocean City Today reported.
“If infrastructure improvements are made, we can remedy that problem,” Perry said.
Council members gave the flood remediation project a ranking of 2 last year in the five-tiered project ranking system used to determine where to allocate capital improvement project funds, Ocean City Today reported. This year, they ranked it a 1, or “critical.”
“If you’re asking me, I consider it a need,” Perry said.
The project was initially set for completion in two phases in fiscal 2024 and 2026, but Parks Superintendent Susan Petito told council members during a work session last week that officials decided to change the timeline a little, Ocean City Today reported.
“It’s still a critical project, it’s still really important but what I’d like to do is the entire project in FY 25,” she said. “There are lots of good reasons for us doing that. One, is it gives us another fiscal year to be able to bank some money, bank some fund balance so we can support what we anticipate the revenue losses to be shown when we close the golf course.”
Staff members are asking for the cost of the project to be included in a city bond issue, but they said the money will be paid back with user fees, Ocean City Today reported.
The city-owned course is a money-making venture and mostly self-sustainable, although council members have allocated funds to help with some maintenance costs, Ocean City Today reported. In spring 2020, they budgeted $4,500 to complete an initial golf facilities assessment. Architectural firm McDonald Design Group completed the plan, which provided guidance to address the tidal flooding issues and looked at the overall footprint from a design and infrastructure perspective.
The following spring, the full flood remediation plan was included in the 2022-26 capital improvement plan with the 2, or “very important,” rating, Ocean City Today reported.
The assessment also included $500,000 in user fee funds for what officials referred to as pay-as-you-go renovations, Ocean City Today reported. Perry likened the work to “freshening up the kitchen and bathroom” when you have a decades-old house, as the golf course is 32 years old and in need of some basic maintenance work. The projects include improving drainage, updating the fairway and greens, and working on the ponds and aesthetics.
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