A few Concerned Readers have called and written, worried that the city is moving too slowly, if at all, to repair a collapsed dam at Bull Creek Golf Course. The dam, which held back a pond that was used to water nine of the course's 36 greens, collapsed under the December Deluge that caused such havoc all over town.
After making a few phone calls and riding out to the Midland golf facility, I can report that the city is indeed working on restoring the dam and, with a few days of good weather, should be able to start refilling the pond and watering the greens again.
Ron Smith, deputy director of Public Works, said Bull Creek is paying for all the materials and for the rental of one piece of heavy equipment, and his department is providing the manpower and expertise.
"We're getting close to having it repaired," Smith said. "It's coming along. The rain's been holding us up, but by next month they should be able to start watering grass again."
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One thing that they're adding to the dam that wasn't present in the old one is an overflow pipe, which will allow water to flow out in a controlled manner if the course sees the kind of rain it saw in December.
John Milam, director of golf for the city, said the pond isn't part of the watershed system created years ago to control flooding.
"That was originally a farm irrigation pond that's been there since long before the golf course was built," Milam said. "So there was never an overflow valve put in it. Eventually we got so much rain that it undermined it and we lost it."
Milam said the pond provides water for holes 4-12 on the West Course, and in a very real way, they were lucky the storm happened when it did, in the winter, when the greens need much less water.
"If we lose those greens it's $60,000 to replant them, plus untold lost revenue," Milam said. "That was the urgency in putting it back. It's going to bust my budget by $10,000-$15,000, but that's still going to save the city a lot of money."
In addition to adding the overflow valve, the new dam will be engineered better than the old farm pond version.
"The old dam was built with just hauled in clay and sand. New we're using crush and run and all that sort of thing," Milam said. "It's going to be there to stay."
In addition to destroying the dam, the storm washed almost all the sand from the bunkers, which cost Bull Creek about $5,000, bringing the total of storm damage at the golf course to about $15,000, Milam said.
"I was within budget before this happened," Milam said. "We've done a lot of things to stay within budget. It's the same everywhere in the city (government)," Milam said. "Everybody's struggling."
At-large Councilor and Budget Review Committee Chairman Skip Henderson said council will have to wait and see what the total impact of replacing the dam and sand will have on the budget. He said earlier he was told that the course were within its budget, but this could change that.
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