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I attended the public meeting about the proposed improvements to the Los Alamos Golf Course on Thursday and would like to put the following comments in the public record.
Readers not familiar with the proposed changes to the golf course can find the details at: http://www.losalamosnm.us/projects/capital/Pages/GolfCourseImprovement.aspx, http://www.losalamosnm.us/projects/cdd/Documents/CapitalImprovementsProj....
Budget impacts (navigate to page 50 (117) for the chart) are at: http://www.losalamosnm.us/omb/2012AdoptedBudget/05DepartmentSummaries.pdf.
I am personally very much against Options A and B of the CIP proposal. These options provide for enlargement of the golf course by cutting down trees north and south of the golf course and “realigning” the trails currently in those woods.
Much of this course enlargement is driven by the desire on the part of those making the proposal to enlarge the practice range from its current 220-250 yards to 300 yards and to provide a more challenging “signature” hole for golfers.
The “safety” issues, which are being used by the pro-golf contingent to push options A or B on the public seem to be a red herring. There has been absolutely no evidence presented (such as accident and injury rates) to show that the current golf course is a dangerous place to be.
All that was presented at the meeting was a number of anecdotal accounts of near misses, which do not prove that the golf course is unsafe.
In brief research on the web, I discovered that nearly all fatal accidents on golf courses due to being struck by a ball (of which there are very few) were due to the carelessness of the golfers involved and not the configuration of the course.
I am in support of Option C to replace the irrigation system and make other improvements to the fairways, greens, and safety netting within the current treeless boundaries of the golf course. The condition of the course has definitely deteriorated because of lack of maintenance and improvements over the decades.
We have lost most of our local wooded trails to the last two fires, and the remaining wooded trails such as the ones along the golf course are a precious and irreplaceable recreational resource for our community, used by five times as many Los Alamos citizens as those who utilize the golf course, at a fraction of the cost to the taxpayer compared to the expense of subsidizing the golf course.
Certainly, we should improve the golf course, since it is an asset for the community, but not at the expense of trails or wooded areas. If you care about our woods and trails, get involved in the approval process for this Capital Improvement project.