City takes a swing at the golf business

Greg MassPost Independent Staff

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – Plans for an $8 million golf course and driving range on the hillside south of Glenwood Meadows, at the foot of Red Mountain, received conceptual approval Wednesday by City Council. Three designs, generated by Phelps Golf Course Design of Evergreen, were presented to council during a special work session. Each course would have 18 holes and would be at least 7,000 yards long, the standard for a regulation golf course, company owner Richard Phelps said. “We walked this site and you have an unbelievable opportunity,” Phelps consultant Kevin Atkinson said. “With severe slopes comes high drama on the golf course.”A golf course is just part of the plan to attract visitors to the former Wulfsohn Ranch, located between the Community Center and the city’s Municipal Operations Center, south of Midland Avenue. There are also plans for a shopping mall, 475 residences and possibly a hotel/convention center in the area.The golf course is proposed for land that was dedicated to the city as open space by Meadows developer Robert Macgregor.”Golf works on the site. That’s one of the questions that needed to be answered,” Atkinson said.During snowy times, the course could also be used for a Nordic skiing trail and a sledding hill.The three driving range designs could accommodate anywhere from 25 to 40 golfers at once, depending on which is chosen.”I firmly believe that the practice range is as important as the golf course,” Phelps said. Macgregor said although two of the conceptual golf course designs cut into Meadows land, he would cooperate with the city if a golf course is wanted.”I’d be happy to work with these guys to see what’s possible,” he said. Some handicaps to building a new golf course at Wulfsohn include:-The need for large amounts of water to keep the course green.-The possibility of moving or sinking soil and debris flows.-Concerns about adequate parking.-The hillside’s ability to hold snow during winter.-How the course will be funded. City manager Mike Copp suggested to council that the city could get money from “certificates of participation,” or COPs, a mechanism for borrowing millions of dollars without a vote of the people. Copp said money from these COPs could also fund a $1 million kayak park on the Colorado and Roaring Fork rivers and direct another $750,000 toward funding a swimming pool at the Community Center, adding to the $750,000 already pledged by the city for the pool and putting the pool fund-raising effort within $600,000 of its $3.2 million goal.But at least one council member objected to the idea. “Folks may think we need it,” Councilman Dave Merritt said of the golf course, “but I don’t think we can afford it. If we want to go into debt, we should put it out to a vote and go into debt.”Contact Greg Mass: 945-8515, ext.

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