The Devine City Council was set to select a contractor to reconstruct greens at the Municipal Golf Course, as well as continue discussion about the clubhouse renovation, at a Special meeting held on press night, August 6.
Council discussed both issues during a Special meeting held at the clubhouse on July 29.
Golf course designer John Colligan presented Council with two different plans at the July 29 meeting.
The first reconstructs the greens on holes 1, 2, 3, 10, 11, 12, and 18, and adds a chipping green at an estimated cost of $549,137.50.
An alternate plan adds the reconstruction of the greens on holes 4 and 9 and includes a putting green for an estimated additional cost of $187,147.50, bringing the total for both plans to approximately $736,285.
Colligan advised doing at least nine holes at a time.
“There are some economies of scale,” Colligan said. “The more work they do, the less things cost per unit.”
Plans call for the greens to be re-sodded using Champions Bermudagrass, which Colligan said provides one of the best putting surfaces.
“Champions is thought of as a superior turf,” Colligan said.
Colligan provided the plans and specifications to three golf course contractors, all of whom he has worked with in the past, and gave them a tour of the course in a pre-bid meeting on July 30. Bids were due Aug. 5.
“We usually like to give [contractors] about four weeks, but your Superintendent is really under the gun,” Colligan said. “He has Mother Nature to deal with. So we really need to get the project started as quick as possible in order to give him a chance to get the greens grown in and get the golf course open for the winter.”
District 4 Councilwoman Jennifer Schott questioned whether the greens would have time to grow in before being disrupted by poor weather.
Colligan said it usually takes around 10 weeks for Champions bermudagrass to grow in completely and be playable.
“Once the bids are in, we’re giving [the contractors] two weeks to mobilize,” Colligan said. “And the project is to be finished September 25, completely. And that includes everything, putting sod down and whatnot.
“We’re going to push them to get the greens sprigged as early as possible. Down here they have a much better opportunity than, say, North Texas.”
Colligan added that with mild weather, the greens could stay green through the winter.
A motion by District 3 Councilman David Espinosa and District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez to move forward with the bidding process and make a decision on the course renovation at the next meeting passed 3-0 with Schott’s support.
District 1 Councilman David Valdez was absent.
Council voted unanimously to pause construction on the clubhouse interior and request a new design from architect Lyndsay Thorn.
The move reversed the approval of a tweaked design with a slightly longer bar that was given in the July 16 meeting. At that meeting, Lopez and Espinosa voted to approve Thorn’s design, while Schott and then-District 5 Councilman Cory Thompson voted against it. Council was deadlocked with Valdez’s absence, and then-Mayor Bill Herring voted in favor of the design, granting its approval 3-2.
Thompson, who was appointed mayor on July 19 after Herring’s resignation, said that he and Interim City Administrator Dora Rodriguez had a pre-construction walk-through with a contractor at the clubhouse where questions were raised.
“One of the biggest issues we are having with the current plan to try to finalize things is we need to decide what kind of food we are going to serve so we know what kind of kitchen equipment we have to buy,” Thompson said. “So we know what kind of ductwork and exhaust fans and electric and gas lines have to be ran to that kitchen equipment.”
During the course of discussion, Council decided that leasing the kitchen space to an outside entity was unrealistic, and that the food service aspect of the clubhouse needed to be run by the City.
“The truth is, I feel like I, personally, am going in kind of blind,” Schott said. “Especially at the last meeting when I said that I voted no, because the picture that we received was nowhere near what I envisioned, or feel like I was told was going to be the case. So I just want to make sure that we start clarifying things, we start getting details before we put a penny in there.”
Christine Alderman, who lives on Lynx Circle near the golf course, asked who the City planned to market the clubhouse restaurant to.
“Is this going to be something just for the golfers, or are other people going to come in and dine?” Alderman asked. “Is it going to be for the high school kids to come and have lunch? I see this as a way to make money. I’m all about let’s make some money here. So if you’re going to do that, you need to set it up right.”
Schott agreed that the clubhouse needed to be a place that attracts everybody, and that every aspect of the design mattered.
“Right now the current bar length, which I do not approve of, is 10 feet long,” Schott said. “We either do it or don’t, and that is not a bar, to me, that people are going to go sit down and have drinks at. It’s just not.”
Thompson said he had visited the SilverHorn Golf Club in San Antonio, which Thorn said had comparable bar space.
“The bar there is closer to 15 to 18 feet,” Thompson said, adding that he estimated the length based off the number of chairs. “So it’s not the same as what we’re getting, which is what he told us.”
Thompson added that the SilverHorn served 19 kinds of liquor and 12 kinds of beer, more than the eight liquors and five beers that Thorn said would be adequate for Devine’s clubhouse.
“Because I’m so dissatisfied with this space that’s being called a bar that’s not a bar, how do we go back to [Thorn] and say we just don’t like this?” Schott asked.
“We can let him know, if it’s what y’all want,” Rodriguez replied.
A Lopez-Espinosa motion to pause the clubhouse reconstruction and request an updated design from Thorn that includes a larger bar area passed 3-0.
By Marly Davis