In October 2017, the City of Liberty Lake received a risk assessment summary which stated, “The city has a high liability exposure for this driving range with the number of golf balls being hit over/through the fencing.” The report also indicated that there would be a follow-up within 45 (forty-five) days to verify that the issue had been remedied.
Limiting liability by raising the nets around the course and range was estimated at around $1.5 million. In addition, the City was also considering an upgrade to the golf course irrigation system. The irrigation system was upgraded at a total cost of about $1.3 million, but the nets remain the same height.
At the time, there was some urgency to the issue, but seems that the insurance provider is willing to accept the risk while the community figures out a solution.
City Council is exploring options for additional improvements to the driving range, course, and facility. Last month, they spent about 40 minutes discussing a need vs. want list and contemplating how they would proceed with this process.
Here is a rough summary of that meeting broken down by participant:
Scott Bernhard, City Engineer
Scott presented a list of the “must have” vs. “nice to have” options. Here is a rough outline of that list:
- Pro shop
- Banquet/Meeting Room
- Putting Green
- Driving Range
- Business Plan
- Deck or outside eating area
- View restaurant
- Reconfigure course to have signature hole (example: tee pad on property on other side of Liberty Lake Rd)
- New driving range net
- Golf cart charging station
- Replace with course Top Golf building
- New facility or fix up old
- Golf cart repair shop
- More putting – Putting Course
- Indoor Simulators
After this list has been refined, they would go out with an RFQ for a consultant who has experience with similar project requirements.
Some of the criteria will come from a citizen committee and the RFQ will be prepared from that.
Review of the current Trailhead building is underway, but not yet complete.
Some of the known issues are:
- Some ADA issues
- Nets not perfect
- Deck structure issues
- Banquet/meeting room is marginal
- HVAC issues
- Building is “tired”
- Might need more parking
Cris Kaminskas, Council Member
- Patio is closer to must have
- New net is needed
- New facility depends on evaluation
Dan Dunne, Council Member
- Agrees outdoor seating must have
- Putting course on natural grass for families would be nice (not mini golf)
Odin Langford, Council Member
- Why isn’t the net a must have? Answer: it is functional, but might have some upcoming repairs
- Need more info about costs to decide
- What is Top Golf?
- What is signature hole?
- Many must haves cover the like to haves as the person you choose will have the skills to perform both
- Doesn’t think charging station is needed
- If anyone was looking to hire an expert, you would look for experienced person
Steve Peterson, Mayor
- Top Golf defined for those who don’t know (Gazette provided link: https://topgolf.com/us/)
- Who would run Top Golf? How would money flow?
- Revenue from sales tax and developed by Top Golf – not in golf business
- Would need a lot of parking
- Nets – estimates net heights are 185 ft
- $1.7 mil for netting estimate
- Last 2 or 3 years talking about it and need to define why we are doing this
- How much money do we want to put at this? We don’t know exactly.
- Council can discuss, but is it market driven? What does the market want?
- Council and Mayor want citizen input; trying to moving forward
- Ask for RFPs to choose from
- Ask the citizens what they want
- Next action, need somebody to put this together
Mike Kennedy, Council Member
- Reminded that the net was reviewed last year and nets already were determined to be deteriorated
- Jan presentation was made and committee interest list was formed and the volunteers have yet to be contacted. Slow molasses movement.
- Process is still open but need input during RFQ process
- Scott agreed to follow-up but was waiting for more direction and Harvard Rd has taken front row
- Is project plan still valid?
Shane Brickner, Mayor Pro Tem
- Agrees with Odin… premature as we need to assess the building first
- Too early to weigh on like to haves
- “The why” is on the must have list – That is the driving direction
- Don’t know if a building is feasible
Katy Allen, City Administrator
- Need to find clear direction before hiring a consultant so we can get best result from them. Premature on the building side and should get info in a couple weeks.
- Need a business plan for operation associated with anything we do.
Bob Moore , Council Member
- Boring course at Trailhead
- Played many courses and signature hole and water feature would be nice since we have new irrigation system.
- Don’t rule out someone else to develop the property – joint venture or selling of property if in the best interest of community
- We already have a course, how to enhance the existing facilities. Is there a better way to develop that and do it more effectively?
- Like Mayor, demand driven is important. Need expertise for options on how it should be developed.
Listen to the whole conversation in this video; for 40 minutes of excitement.
(estimated time 1:19:00 to 1:58:00)
(analysis and opinion)