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.