Council approves $128,000 for Centennial Golf Course renovations

Despite the objections of one official and one resident, the Oak Ridge City Council on Monday agreed to spend $128,000 to renovate 29 bunkers, or sand traps, at Centennial Golf Course.

The Golf Course Fund will be used to pay for the repairs at the city-owned course. The work will be done by First Place Finish Inc. of Oak Ridge and Signet Golf Associates.

City staff members said the golf course opened in 1997, and no significant renovations have taken place since then.

“The golf course has not been improved or highly maintained in many, many years,” Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said.

Oak Ridge Recreation and Parks Director Josh Collins said the bunkers now have drainage problems and slopes that are too steep to hold sand. He said the new bunkers will improve access and make the course, managed by Billy Casper Golf, more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It’s a major re-do,” Collins said.

After a brief debate over whether the city has benefited from its investment in the course, Council voted 6-1 to approve a contract for the work. Council member Anne Garcia Garland cast the only vote against the resolution.

Watson said there was about $450,000 in this year’s budget for maintenance, and the city would not be borrowing money to pay for the project.

“When you have a golf course, you have to replace the sand every once in a while,” Watson said.

Oak Ridge City Council candidate Trina Baughn said the city still owes more than $4 million on the golf course, and she asked Council not to “flush good money after bad.

“This is one of the biggest wastes of our taxpayers’ dollars,” Baughn said.



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  • Onslow West

    “Oak Ridge City Council candidate Trina Baughn said the city still owes
    more than $4 million on the golf course, and she asked Council not to
    “flush good money after bad.”

    That is a pejorative statement that is unsubstantiated by facts. The golf course has operated in the black for at least the past two years and is expected (per the 2013 budget) to do so again this year. The debt service payment is a little over $500k per year, an amount that is about 37% of the annual revenue. The course provides jobs for Oak Ridgers and recreation for Oak Ridgers and others in the surrounding area. The course is an asset to the COR.

    Contrary to “flushing good money,” it would be foolish and irresponsible not to maintain our investment.

    It amazes me how long a few people are willing to carry a grudge.

  • mushroomcloud

    What does ADA
    (Americans with Disabilities Act) mean?
    It gives all the disabled access to life and does not discriminate against
    anyone. It opens up Court Houses, Public Schools, Libraries, Businesses,
    churches. Any entity collecting money for a service has to have public ADA
    access to Handicapped Parking; as well as, other amenities. Public water
    fountains have to be lowered and be wheelchair accessable.

    Most recently the Oak Ridge City Council voted 6-1 to spend
    $128, 442 on sand traps for the Centennial Golf Course. Pro tem Mayor Jane
    Miller called it a ”Quality of life” issue. Josh Collins, Oak Ridge Recreation
    Director said the lower entry points will help address ease of access to sand
    traps and will make the course more ADA Compliant.

    I do not even go into the front yard for fear that my
    Electric Wheelchair will become stuck.

    Last week, I went to the dentist and had to park illegally
    and mailed a check for $1200 for their service. Then I went to the super
    market. There is no Wheelchair Accessible Parking. All over Oak Ridge there are businesses that

  • Ellen Smith

    As I understand it (this is based on oral answers to questions at the City Council meeting, plus my looking at the city budget on my city iPad during that meeting), the money for the work on the golf course bunkers is coming from the “maintenance” line in the city’s Golf Course Fund. That part of the budget is fully supported by golf course revenues. Thus, golfers will pay for the bunkers, not taxpayers. This year’s golf course maintenance budget no higher than last year’s, so doing a big project this year probably means that they can’t do some other smaller maintenance projects.

    The entire debt service for the initial construction of the golf course is still being paid for by the taxpayers, but this project will not add to the costs to the taxpayer. Also, proper upkeep of the course helps maintain the value of the capital asset that our tax money is supporting.

    • John Huotari

      Thank you, Ellen.

  • mushroomcloud

    I have always been amazed how the city of Oak Ridge divides up money (honey) pots so they can play their games of not spending taxpayer money. All monies belonging to The City’s taxpayer money whether Rominey donated it or anyone else is taxpayer money. Sand Trap money can just as easily be used by the police to enforce ADA Handicapped Parking………it all comes down to human will or empathy.

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