The Parks and Recreation Board approved recommending a plan from Richardson-Danner Golf Course Architects to expand the Los Alamos County Golf Course approximately 4.5 acres into a 20-acre portion of county-owned land south of the course; relocate approximately 800 linear feet of trails; remove approximately 135 trees; add approximately 120 yards to the course; and add two to three new greens.
A second phase of future improvements to the Los Alamos County (N.M.) Golf Course is one step closer to reality as the Parks and Recreation Board approved recommending an option to the County Council, the Los Alamos Daily Post reported.
The motion passed 5-2 with board members Jody Schwartz and Christopher Olsen opposed, the Daily Post reported. Option A, according to Forrest Richardson of Richardson-Danner Golf Course Architects, a member of the design team, includes the following:
– Expands the golf course approximately 4.5 acres into a 20-acre portion of County-owned land south of the course;
– Relocates approximately 800 linear feet of trails;
– Removes approximately 135 trees;
– Adds approximately 120 yards to course; and
– Adds two to three new greens.
The estimated total cost for this option is $3,595,000 which also includes 2:1 tree mitigation and was noted as a conservative estimate by Richardson, the Daily Post reported. Deputy Public Works Director Eric Martinez noted that the project is not yet programmed for funding.
Richardson presented four options for the board’s consideration, the Daily Post reported. While Option A scored well with the local golfing community, it was ranked fourth by the team of golf course architects.
Option C was the consultant’s preference. It comes with a higher price tag, but it adds four new greens, requires less tree removal and trail relocation, and expands the course by 2.8 acres, the Daily Post reported.
“So, you have the professional’s opinion of what we feel meet all those goals both sustainability and A+ condition, point of pride and we also look at things like wow factor, which of these plans really creates an opportunity for the county to have perhaps a new golf hole or a new view of the golf course that is maybe better than the holes we are displacing,” Richardson said.
However, the consultant has noted that all options are viable, and each come with their pros and cons, the Daily Post reported.
When asked what the County staff’s preference is, Martinez said all options are feasible, the Daily Post reported.
“To us all options are feasible,” he said. “There’s just nuances in each of them that you can consider in your evaluation of each.”
Members of the public spoke in support and opposition of improving of the golf course, the Daily Post reported.
“If forced to choose … (I) would choose option D as the least destructive of open space and impact on trails; however, I prefer a fifth option, which is that the county put a stop to any expansion of the golf course into open space now and in the future and that county put stop to all golf course improvement funded by taxpayers, restricting expenditures to necessary repairs and maintenance,” Los Alamos resident Bruce Warren said.
Los Alamos Golf Association board member Michelle Taylor spoke in favor of option A, the Daily Post reported.
“Only one [option] impacts holes one through three requested by council and the golf community at the Jan. 4 meeting,” she said. “Only one is the least expensive by over a half million dollars. Only one does not unnecessarily tear up a good portion of the front nine holes … only one allows us to start on defer maintenance items on holes four through 18 immediately without delay. Fortunately, this also is only one that ensures we have a new bathroom on the front nine for golfers, hikers, bikers alike, it also is the one the golfing community overwhelming supports. That is option A.”
Parks and Recreation Board Member David Hampton pointed out that council didn’t task the board on recommending whether to expand the golf course, but rather which design option would be recommended should the expansion be approved, the Daily Post reported. He added he felt Option A would be best because it is the least expensive, the quickest to implement and would have the least impact on operations. Plus, it is the preferred option for golfers, and it would solve the bathroom issue.
Board Chair Ramiro Pereyra agreed, the Daily Post reported. He noted that other county recreational facilities such as the aquatic center and ice rink have both received improvements so he didn’t see why the golf course shouldn’t be improved.
“I think it is important to support all aspects of our community,” Pereyra said.
Schwartz disagreed, the Daily Post reported. She pointed out that Option A was the lowest scored by the consultants and she wondered why the board would go against the consultant’s findings.