I can’t help but compare the discussion involving the merits of the CIP project for the proposed North Community Regional Park and Community Links with what I do for a living; provide apartment housing for people living in Los Alamos.
I own and manage a number of buildings in town that are almost the same age as is the golf course and believe it or not, there are more similarities than you might think. By the time our current projects are completed this summer, we will have invested well over $1.5 million in upgrades and innovations in recent years. We do this because we have to meet or exceed the needs and desires of our customers. As a result, we have stayed competitive in the market and have a successful business.
The same cannot be said for the golf course in Los Alamos. There is little disagreement that the course needs a new irrigation system. The current system is nearing 30 years of age, was not properly installed in the first place and is a component that typically requires replacement every 20-25 years.
What is being debated is the proposed renovation of the course, which would include completely new turf and the re-design of several holes for safety concerns.
I look at it like this: if I replace the plumbing in an apartment building, while it may need to be done and may help me keep some of my existing tenants, will it attract any new tenants? The answer is clearly no. There is an underlying expectation that the plumbing will work when someone moves in. But what about if I renovate the kitchen or bathroom? How about new windows, carpet and paint? Ah, now that’s a different story. Now my prospective tenants can clearly see that the money I’ve invested in my property will result in their greater enjoyment making it much easier to sign new leases.
What the Council is faced with is a decision about replacing the plumbing, but not doing the things that will attract new visitors from outside the County, or retain customers. And that leaves aside the very significant safety issues that can only be addressed with a re-design of a number of holes.
In essence, the game has left our course behind. The multiple expansions of Diamond Drive has forced holes to be squeezed together to the point that it has created some significant safety issues. Multiple non desirable grass and weed species have established themselves over the years, large sections of the fairway crack open during the dry spring season as the dormant grass types with shallow root structures get torn apart as our clay soil expands and contracts.
We also are faced with several new apartment complexes, I mean golf courses, being built nearby, which siphons off a portion of our play. Rounds that would not be lost if we could provide a comparable playing experience.
As a community we pride ourselves in our cutting edge science. Our community leaders are trying to provide services that will attract new visitors and retain our citizens and just make Los Alamos a great place to live. They have funded several new and exciting projects while ignoring one of the core recreational facilities in our community. As an added bonus, this investment I support will also benefit those hundreds of people who use the course or the trails around its perimeter by improving and protecting those trails and recreation spaces.
Please, keep this asset relevant and make it competitive. Help us create a sustainable regional park where multiple users can enjoy the outdoors year round. Please, urge your councilors to support the North Community Regional Park and Community Links project.