Residents have their say about Glen Lakes

By: 
DARRELL JACKSON, Glendale Star Staff Writer

Photo by Darrell Jackson

Local residents wait at the Nov. 19 community meeting to address Glendale City Council on their recommendations for the future of Glen Lakes Golf Course.
 

“The $429,500 contract is for more than just the operation of the course.They have already done remedial improvements to the course, as well as repairs that nobody anticipated.” -- Barrel Councilmember Bart Turner

Approximately 120 people attended a special community meeting Nov. 19, where more than 30 residents addressed the recent closing of Glen Lakes Golf Course and tried to pressure council to save the course.
Nearly two weeks after a building inspector closed the course due to buildings being unsafe to occupy, the residents spoke their minds on what they want to happen to the more than 50 years old nine-hole course.
“My five sons all worked at the course when they were teenagers,” Marie Scillieri said. “I am a Realtor and what I understand is they want to put houses and condos in there and we do not want houses or condos there because it is a beautiful open green space.”
In response to the closure, council heard an update Nov. 13 on what the cost would be to re-open the course as soon as possible or just keep the course irrigated and manicured before a possible sale of the land.
“There are two types of temporary club houses if council would like to get the course open as soon as possible,” Director of Field Operations Michelle Woytenko said during the Nov. 13 meeting. “We would have to get a recreational vehicle for approximately 60 days which has not generated electricity and portable restrooms.”
Staff estimated the costs to get the course open as soon as possible to be at nearly $200,000 for a temporary club house, generator for irrigation pumps, electrical hookups for the maintenance yard and shade structures. Estimated costs to get it open are more than $200,000.
But citizens were adamant they could get volunteers to offer services and donated supplies to rebuild the course after a men’s group recently repainted curbs, driving range signs, tee boxes and other items before the course was closed.
“All those projects were done by concerned citizens in support of Glen Lakes,” Glendale resident Phil Erickson said. “Granted, these projects were done and it fixed the curb appeal, but it brought playing conditions back to years ago. We recently got 1,300 signatures in support of the course and I am sure many would donate time and supplies to continue to improve the course.”
After the speakers expressed their concerns and hopes to save the course, councilmembers got a chance to address what speakers had said.
“Sometimes the past does matter not to beat people up but to understand that if we were in this situation and the course had been maintained and promoted and advertised all those years and we found ourselves in this situation, this would look entirely different and we would know it could not be a success, but we are not in that situation,” Barrel Councilmember Bart Turner said. “Not by any fault of this council, but this course has had virtually nothing into it for years.”
Staff estimates the added costs on the course to get through the end of the fiscal year would be nearly $430,000, which includes the trailers, electrical hookups, generator and fuel, among other needed items to get the course open as soon as possible.
Also during the Oct. 23 workshop, staff estimated cost to improving Glen Lakes was between $5.1 million and $7.6 million if they wanted the course to remain long-term.
Among the issues that need repair include between $2.1 million and $2.9 million to rebuild the pro shop and clubhouse, $800,000 and $1 million for irrigation system, and $750,000 and $1 million for a new maintenance facility.
Many citizens questioned the totals on those estimates.
“(Council) says you’re all tired of hearing how this happened and I am, too,” Sahuaro resident Sam McConnell said. “Something else I am tired of hearing is $5.1 to $7.6 million to redo the golf course. (Councilmember Joyce) Clark, you were right. I walked through and got a feeling about what is going on here. We do not want Pebble Beach; we want a really nice municipal golf course here and those amounts just do not seem correct.”
All councilmembers then thanked everyone for attending and made sure to take the comments into consideration.
“This is your tax dollars and short of creating and passing a dedicated tax to fit (the course), what I see today, not only do you support this, I haven’t heard any opposition against keeping the course open,” Ocotillo Councilmember Jamie Aldama said. “No councilmember up here is responsible for what has happened to that course, it was set up to fail and I am glad that you all had your say.”
Golf Maintenance Solutions (GMS) took over operations of the course in March after Thom Harrison of Arizona Golf Ventures was removed as operator after years of running the course for the city.
The contract for GMS was a one-year contract, which allows for GMS 5W to maintain and operate Glen Lakes Golf Course for $429,500 from July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2019. The council also approved a contingency transfer of $90,980 to cover expenses through June 30, 2018. The contract was also supposed to be offset by income from rounds of golf played throughout the year.
Barrel Councilmember Bart Turner pointed out that the Golf Maintenance Solutions contract was for more than just operation of the course, but Golf Maintenance Solutions had already completed improvements to the course.
“The $429,500 contract is for more than just the operation of the course,” Turner said. “They have already done remedial improvements to the course, as well as repairs that nobody anticipated.”
Moments before the end of the meeting, Vice Mayor Lauren Tolmachoff said the $429,000 was after revenue was added.
“I promised when elected that I would make fiscally responsible decisions and the dollars are what they are,” Tolmachoff said. “I am still looking for answers and I know the $429,000 is after revenue and I just confirmed that via text.”
Councilmember Turner asked who confirmed the numbers via text.
“Can I ask who you text,” Turner asked.
“No, I will talk to you after the meeting,” Tolmachoff said.
Council was expected to hear an update on the actual costs if the course was opened during the Nov. 27 workshop.

 

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