The golf course, which serves as a protective cap on top of waste from the Anaconda, Mont., smelting location, is requesting a $250,000 line of credit from the EPA and Atlantic Richfield Co., to perform deferred maintenance.
Old Works Golf Club in Anaconda, Mt., has requested a roughly $250,000 line of credit from the Environmental Protection Agency and Atlantic Richfield Co. (ARCO) as an interim subsidy until a global settlement is reached between the county and British Petroleum, ARCO’s parent company, the Butte-based Montana Standard reported.
The 17-year-old facility, which serves as a protective cap on top of waste from Anaconda’s first smelting location, has struggled financially since the economic downtown in 2008 and as a result of an overabundance of golf courses nationwide, golf course officials said.
But county leaders are confident the course will rebound, noting its presence in Anaconda is vital to the community. As parties near a global settlement, the Old Works is also looking toward possible new revenue streams, such as housing developments around the course, the Standard reported.
The course opened in 1997 and continues to receive great reviews from golf magazines and the golfing community, said Carl Nyman, Superfund coordinator for Anaconda-Deer Lodge County, who works as a liaison between the county and ARCO. “Ninety-two percent of the revenue at the golf course comes from outside Anaconda. The global settlement will provide a supplementary funding source as needed,’’ he said.
The settlement to be reached between ARCO and the county has taken longer than expected, and is likely to take at least a few more years. Money from the settlement will provide for a community redevelopment plan, housing, jobs and long-term funding for the course, especially during the shoulder seasons when fewer people golf, the Standard reported.
“Because the settlement is taking as long as it has, it has created an urgency for the golf course,” Nyman said. “We’re trying to be proactive to make sure the golf course is self-sustaining in the long run.”
The Jack Nicklaus-signature course, which is managed by Troon Golf, is not in imminent danger of failing, but it needs the subsidy to get over the hump, the Standard reported.
“While we certainly don’t take the situation lightly, I can’t imagine this community without the Old Works Golf Course,” said Connie Ternes-Daniels, the Anaconda-Deer Lodge County chief executive. “We agreed on a world-class golf course as a cap for leaving the waste in place. It’s important for the county. And it’s a reflection on ARCO and the agencies to make sure it continues.”
The golf course previously asked for and was granted a $300,000 line of credit in 2012. Deferred maintenance is one reason the course needs the new subsidy, the Standard reported.
“It is a Superfund-vegetated cover like many of the remedies,” Nyman said. “Part of the design of the course is to keep water from going through (smelter) waste to the groundwater.’’
He said many of the (course) features have liners. Water draws off the liners into an under-drain piping system to collect the excess and put it into the lake from which they irrigate. The inlets and outlets need to be maintained, the Standard reported.
“The system works well as long as it receives regular maintenance,’’ he said.
Other reasons for the line of credit are to see the course through cash-poor times of year and to purchase needed equipment such as mowers, a sprayer and an aerator, the Standard reported.
Course operators have also used dynamic pricing for the past few years—preferred “peak time” rounds of golf are more expensive than rounds earlier or later in the day, the Standard reported.
And in the future, once the global settlement is reached, the county plans to explore the possibility of single and multi-family housing developments—with the land for those developments thoroughly vetted as being safe for human health first—around the course, which is a primary funding source for most golf courses, the Standard reported.
“There are lots of indicators that the economy and the glut are leveling out,” Nyman said. “Our team is confident we’ll be successful at this. Between the authority board, Troon Golf and the county’s involvement, they’re leaving no stone unturned.”