Thursday, May 11, 2017

Editorial ~ Notes from the “Gaslight” Workshop: Part 2.

Question and Answer Session With Audience
Although the original plan was to have a 30 minute Q&A session followed by breaking into smaller groups for the “Workshop” portion of the evening, the Q&A session was going so well with so many people wanting to comment that they decided to scrap the workshop portion of the evening and continue with the Q&A.

Resident Feedback on Golf

Audience members would like to see:
More Pickle Ball Courts (which attendees stated was the #1 growing sport and is popular with seniors), and Executive Golf Courses which have shorter holes and faster playing time. Turn the 9-hole course into ball fields, a bridal path, a walking path, and miniature golf for families.

A driving range needs to be added at Pusch Ridge, about 10-12 acres. Also a lighted driving range. These are the money makers.

Make Pusch Ridge course a 9-hole/par 3 course with a practice range. Also need longer hours for this course. Current hours of 9 am to 2 pm does not give people enough time to play.

General Comments:
A resident loves having a “green backyard” that she doesn’t have to water or mow. Another resident worried about developers turning it into more homes. One resident mentioned a course that became a park with very negative results due to trash.

After the consultants present options to the Town, how will the Town pay for these options? With another bond? More taxes?

You’ve had a meeting with golf members and now a meeting with residents living along the golf courses. Will you hold a meeting for the public? These courses and the Community Center belong to all of us.

Resident Feedback on the Restaurant

Audience members would like to see:
Lease the restaurant. It is underutilized and needs more marketing. The menu is too short and too expensive. Food choices could be better, more family friendly, etc.

General Comments:
Public doesn’t seem aware that the restaurant exists. It is difficult to find and not well-marketed.

A former Food and Beverage Director (when the hotel was owned by the Sheraton) said that golfers’ business was always great at lunch time but they don’t want to return to the restaurant for an evening meal. They had enough time there during the day.

Feedback from the Consultants

If golf can’t work, it should be reconfigured. If you have a “repurpose plan” it leads to success.

Nine holes cost as much to maintain as 18 holes. The topography makes a driving range difficult and you would need 10-12 acres. They could build sound abatement walls if they add more pickle ball courts. One course they reconfigured originally had 35 acres of turf, reduced to 13 acres of turf. People living along it were happy and it saved money.

Middle school and high school students are golfing. However, El Con and LaCanada courses are not walkable which eliminates high school student tournaments. It is the millennials who are not golfing, thus these future retirees will not be golfing.

Some of the parcels along LaCanada might work for redevelopment but the fairways on the rest of the courses are too narrow to accommodate homes or businesses plus the necessary infrastructure.

It hasn’t been determined if there will be a public meeting.

After the consultants present options and capital costs to the Town, it will be up to the Town to determine how to pay for these changes.

Our Impressions
The meeting was well-attended with maybe 150 attendees. It appeared that most of the attendees do not play golf but do live along the golf course. Judging from the questions/answers, about 25-30% of the audience members appeared to be residents of the neighborhood bordering the Pusch Ridge Golf Course and it appeared that they knew little about the current financial situation of the golf courses, but were very concerned that the Pusch Ridge course might be closed.

The consultants seemed well-qualified. It will be interesting to see their results and conclusions at the end of this process.

Although this meeting was supposed to be open to the public, no public notification was ever released by the Town.