Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Pusch Ridge Golf Course Decision Tonight

Three years of waiting ends tonight
The Oro Valley Town Council will determine the future of the Pusch View Golf Course tonight. In 2021, the Council directed that the course be operated for three years, after the town had shut it down. Tonight marks the end of that period.

Staff Report: Course operations "break even"
The staff report to Council for tonight’s meeting states that “The Pusch Ridge 9-Hole Golf Course is likely to cover its operating expenses through its gross income. This is largely possible due to strong annual numbers of golf rounds.” So, financial viability of day-to-day operations should not be an issue, unless you believe that the numbers being provided to the Town by the manager of the golf course, Indigo Golf, are not reliable. 

Staff Report: Two major issues to consider
Town will need to pay for $1.9 in future capital spending (thru 2034)
First, the course struggles to cover a minimum level of annual capital expenses, with an anticipated $1.4 million of major capital expenses over the next eight years. The town will need to pay for these.

Course is irrigated with millions of gallons of drinking water
Second, the course's use of 30 to 40 million gallons of potable water annually is a significant concern. While closing the course during the summer has helped reduce drinking water use, the use of drinking water for non-drinking purposes remains an issue, especially given the town's strong support of drinking water conservation. Indeed, as we've noted on many occasions, the town is the biggest waster of drinking water because the town irrigates this golf course, Riverfront Park and Kreigh Park with drinking water.

A solution would be to extend the reclaimed water system to the golf course. The cost of doing this is more than $12 million. The decision is complicated further by possible State sponsored and City of Tucson support for processing of reclaimed water and its introduction into the drinking water system. Oro Valley gets its reclaimed water from the city of Tucson. So if the city of Tucson decides one day to re-process this water, it may be possible one day that there less reclaimed water for Oro Valley.

Needless to say, the situation is complicated but it is not the doing of the current residents, the users of the Pusch Ridge Course or the current town council. It is the doing of previous councils that did not have the foresight to extend the reclaimed water system years ago.

There are many reasons to keep the course open
Tony D’Angelo, FOPRG President, detailed the many benefits this course brings to Oro Valley in yesterday’s LOVE Guest View. It is worth a read.

We expect that tonight's discussion will be very lively.
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