The future of the Berksdale Golf Course was again a topic at the POA's board work session on Thursday. The board was discussing a new section of trail and a trailhead that could be built on a section of what was once the 18 hole Berksdale course. Since it was a work session, no vote was taken on the plan.
When Little Sugar Creek flooded in April 2017, it left a section of the cart path in danger of collapse. After a hydrology study was done in 2018, Berksdale was configured as a nine-hole course.
Two board members, Jan Simms and Sandy Fosdick believe golf is gaining in popularity and more golf holes may be needed in the future.
"I am concerned about losing the nine holes that are not being utilized on Berksdale and you're wanting to turn it into a trail instead," Simms said, asking how the POA will accommodate new golfers "if we turn the only option we have for adding more holes into a trail."
Board Chair David Brandenburg said Berksdale will never reopen as an 18 hole course. Flooding will always be a problem in that area, he said. He reminded the board that there hasn't been a bad flood in four years.
He believes there's room on the courses later in the day and some golf groups have been using those times even though it's not their first choice.
General Manager Tom Judson believes there is enough room on the current courses for future growth with some adjustments. He reminded the board that the old Berksdale greens in that area have already been removed.
Fosdick said there should be a comprehensive plan before any land is dedicated to trails. The land under the trails is "licensed" to the Trailblazers for 25 years so it can't be used by the POA for other purposes. Acknowledging that the Berksdale property has deed restrictions that limit it to recreational use, she suggested it might be needed in the future for a new recreational amenity like a Segway park.
Two other trail additions were discussed. One, a family-friendly "adaptive" trail would be located off McNelly road. It would be a loop in fairly level area that could be used by adaptive bikes as well as by walkers. There would also be a new trailhead.
A new trailhead has also been proposed for an area near the Lake Ann Dam, where currently people are parking on the road.
The Trailblazers have agreed to take care of all costs on the new trail additions for three years. The time period will start when the new additions are open, Judson said. Most issues on trails are evident within the first year or two, he said, so the POA will probably never have big expenses due to these trails.
A proposal to add two more pickleball courts at Branchwood was less controversial. Four new courts were opened earlier this year and have been very popular. There's space to add two more at a cost of $47,500. The board will vote on the proposal this week.
A member has volunteered to pay for a shade structure and some benches in the area as well.
A capital project to repair damage around Country Club hole number 5 will need a new vote this week. The project had been approved, but the engineers found more damage than expected so the cost of the project will be higher. A new vote will be necessary.
The next board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 24, at 6 p.m., in the Country Club board room.