by Mayor Simison

Last week during Meridian City Council’s Work Session, we received a report from the National Golf Foundation regarding a new Master Plan for Lakeview Golf Club. This report evaluated the current conditions of Lakeview Golf Club and provided a path forward to address the maintenance needs and different options for operating the course. The National Golf Foundation’s analysis and knowledge base of the golf industry provides the City with options to help achieve our goals of operating self-sustaining, high quality, and affordable recreation for Meridian residents and visitors. Their comprehensive study included details that really focused on three elements – project background, facility overview, and operations overview.

This project and facility is unique for Meridian.  Although the City has long owned the land that Lakeview Golf Club sits on, the daily business operations and upkeep was managed by a series of local tenants over the years. Most recently, Lakeview Golf Club was operated and managed by Lakeview Meridian Investors and as the company transitioned out of the business, it made sense for Meridian’s two recreation agencies - Western Ada Recreation District (WARD) and Meridian Parks and Recreation - to partner on this new endeavor. This partnership allows the public course and the remainder of the club’s assets to be brought into public ownership.

With that background knowledge, the National Golf Foundation and Meridian Parks and Recreation got to work on evaluating the facility, focusing on infrastructure and capital improvement projects. The critical components of the overall Master Plan assessed the current conditions of the golf course and prepared a prioritized, preliminary capital improvement plan (CIP) for the facility. The Master Plan breaks down recommendations into three tiers, from highest to lowest priority. This year, we have already addressed the most pressing need which was replacement of mowers and the golf carts – the latter of which just arrived a few weeks ago and are a great upgrade for the course.

Additionally, replacement of the irrigation system and a new ground water well are top priorities for the facility, with drainage solutions for fairways and tee reconstruction in the second tier. There are also recommendations to upgrade to the clubhouse and continue rehabilitation of greens and bunkers. There are also some long-range capital enhancements recommended, like a new accessible restroom near Tee #5 and enhancements to the warm-up, practice areas.  While this year’s budget includes funding to work on these capital improvement needs, we want to take a pragmatic approach to the improvements and are working on a plan to that makes the most sense for the City and users of the facility.

We also need to navigate how to run this golf course well through the management and operation needs. Oversight of the Lakeview Golf Club is provided by our Parks and Recreation Department. During the transition of management, the City of Meridian entered into a six-month agreement with a third-party golf course management company, Kemper Sports, to facilitate full management of the golf club and its operation. This assured that operations were sustained during the transition and during the evaluation from the National Golf Foundation. The National Golf Foundation’s recommendation is to continue to engage with a third-party as we navigate the facility improvements and determine the best long-term management strategy that balances costs and service level expectations.

The Lakeview Golf Club has a great future. Yes, we are faced with a number of maintenance and capital needs along with key public policy decisions related to the long-term management structure of the facility.  But once completed, I believe this facility will meet the quality and standards that Meridian residents expect for our open spaces and recreation facilities.

You can watch the National Golf Foundation’s presentation HERE and read the full Master Plan HERE (begins on page 162). I encourage you to take some time and learn more about this new City endeavor, and as we move through the next steps on this recreation resource I look forward to furthering the conversations with the community around Lakeview Golf Club.

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