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Council hears plan for golf course turf reduction

Reducing water usage in Southern Nevada has been a subject that has affected the look of clean, green Boulder City multiple times in the past year.

The expansive lawn in front of the Bureau of Reclamation building north of City Hall is gone and the planned xeriscaping is behind in its installation. “Non-functional” turf in city parks and properties is on its way out and now there is a good chance that about one-third of the turf at the Municipal Golf Course will meet the same fate.

The city council heard a proposal from the firm, Lage Design, outlining the “preferred” option for removing turf at the course. The “preferred” tag came after city staff heard three different options and chose this one as what would be presented to the council.

The proposed removal is being put forward in order to get the course into compliance with regulations from the Southern Nevada Water Authority, limiting the amount of water that can be used for irrigation at golf courses across the region.

The Municipal Golf Course has an old and inefficient irrigation system and replacing that is part of the same project. But, in order to get under the new limits — which mean cutting water use at that course by close to half —just replacing the irrigation equipment is not going to be enough, which leaves removal of some turf the only way to get under the limit.

Before the presentation even began, outgoing City Manager Taylour Tedder addressed presubmitted questions from council members. (At this meeting, only Mayor Joe Hardy and Matt Fox were actually on the dais. Councilmembers Steve Walton, Sherri Jorgensen and Cokie Booth attended via telephone.) Council members wanted to know if there were other golf courses “over the hill” in the Las Vegas Valley that had removed turf, if there were any pictures available of courses which had removed turf, if any courses had instead taken the route of just paying the fine for excessive water use and if courses that had removed turf had seen a drop-off in the number of golfers using the course.

Tedder rattled off a list of more than a half dozen courses in Las Vegas and Henderson that had opted to remove turf. He advised that council members could see what they looked like via the Google Earth app and reported that none of the courses staff had contacted were opting to pay for extra water.

Geoffrey Schafler, the architect from Lage Design, reported that he had heard earlier in the day from two of the affected courses, which both reported having seen no decrease in players.

Prior to the presentation, two members of the public weighed in via written comments opposing the changes. Both reported being residents of the neighborhoods surrounded by the course as well as being regular users of both that course and the one at Boulder Creek.

This was only a presentation and no action was taken. According to city staff, the next step will be a town-hall style public meeting followed by the development of a final design. Construction on the project is slated for the first quarter of 2025.

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