BY MAIRE O’NEILL
If it seems like there has been meeting after meeting in recent months concerning proposed improvements to the Los Alamos Golf Course, well, that’s because it’s true. The community, the Los Alamos County Council and the Parks & Recreation Board have all heard input from golfers, hikers, bikers, open space advocates, County staff and County-retained architects but many golfers believe they are not being heard.
In January, Council directed staff to develop bid-ready documents as soon as possible to make improvements to holes 4-18; develop options for improving holes 1-3 and the driving range; expand the course to include one or two new holes; minimize impacts to trails and open space as much as possible; and minimize or eliminate safety netting.
Now, Los Alamos Golf Association has petitioned Council to present a new option – Option E – to be added to what Council is to review in November. Kurt Anast told the Reporter Saturday that the reason for the presentation is that golfers are concerned Option E may not be properly presented to Council because project staff and the architect do not support it and project staff indicated at the recent public workshop, “There is no Option E”.
“We are taking this opportunity to ensure that Council understands the details of Option E and why we feel it is preferable. Our primary concern is to address long-overdue deferred maintenance improvements such as the tee boxes, bunkers, greens, cart paths as well as areas of disrepair and new restrooms,” Anast said. “If the driving range has to be expanded, we want to have additional funds allocated and minimize the impact to the front 9 by rerouting only holes 1-3.”
He said addressing all the deferred maintenance issues will be the golfers’ priority until that happens. Noting that things are even worse this year, he said the bunkers became “swimming pools” and cart paths “have become arroyos” due to the wet summer.
“When the architect appears before Council in November, we want Council to ask what the cost is to address all the improvements. Let’s get it done and not kick the can down the road,” Anast said.
He fears that completing only some of the deferred maintenance items will mean having to go through the same process again.
Anast said golfers believe Option E for Phase II has many advantages. He said it would reduce the number of trees that would need to be removed to about 35; it would save more than $1 million that could be used in Phase 1; it would minimize the changes to the front 9 holes and the range; it would only require one new hole and has the smallest off-course footprint; and it would save hole #3. Option E would also reduce future maintenance requirements and could reduce the down time for the course for installation.
Over the past few months, the golf community has shown support for Option A over Options B, C and D. The main reason is because only Option A meets the Council’s directives in their January 4 motion – “develop design concept options for improving holes 1-3 and the driving range”. The Parks and Recreation Board also selected Option A in August, advising Council to choose that option.
“LAGA still prefers Option A over B, C and D but we were challenged to find an alternative that would address the concerns voiced by the wider community. We think Option E is an Option A ‘approach’ because it only reroutes holes 1-3. Plus, it has additional benefits over Option A that serve other voices in the community including removing 100 fewer trees and saving $1 million,” Anast said. “So obviously, since we came up with Option E, we believe it is the way to go.”
Options A, B, C and D may be reviewed in a presentation from the August Parks & Recreation Board meeting at:
The documents for Tuesday’s Council meeting may be viewed at:
To attend Tuesday’s meeting virtually go to:
Due to early voting at the Municipal Building, the meeting will be held at Los Alamos Fire Department Station 3 in White Rock.