VAIL — Nothing has been easy about remodeling the 18th hole and clubhouse at the Vail Golf Club. But the 18th hole will be re-done, with work starting this month.
Over the objections of a majority of the Vail Recreation District board of directors, the Vail Town Council voted, 5-2, Tuesday to approve a contract to move the 18th green away from the existing clubhouse.
Waiting on Lawsuits
Recreation district board members Ken Wilson, Jeff Wiles and Bill Suarez asked the council to delay the work until all the lawsuits have been resolved over building a new clubhouse at the course. The remaining suit alleges the clubhouse plan violates a contract, or “covenant,” dating back to the land’s sale.
Wilson said doing the clubhouse and the 18th hole as separate projects could take the course out of play longer, which will affect the district’s revenue streams.
Wilson said work on the 18th hole needed to start by Aug. 15 so sod could be laid this fall. The current work schedule calls for sod to be laid next spring.
Wilson also said that safety problems at the 18th hole and clubhouse could be addressed, at least temporarily, with covers over the clubhouse deck.
But safety seemed to be the driving issue for most council members.
“I’m concerned about liability,” council member Greg Moffet said to Wilson. “Has a majority of your board decided to indemnify the town?”
Wilson replied that no such decision had been made.
“I don’t feel like I have a choice — it’s straight-up lawsuit resistance for the town,” Moffet said.
Wilson said safety issues revealed in a 2012 study had existed at the golf course for the last 40 years, without any problems.
“The hard part about this is we’re being told we have to do something,” council member Kerry Donovan said, adding that the 18th hole as it is now holds memories for any number of golf course regulars. Acknowledging that the recreation district worries about timing and the effects on revenue. “We just can’t push this any farther down the road,” Donovan said.
Everything at Once
Voting against the contract, council member Kevin Foley agreed with recreation district representatives and urged the council to do all the work at once.
But council member Ludwig Kurz said there’s no telling when the litigation over the clubhouse plan might be resolved.
“I don’t think we’re in a position to hold for that length of time,” Kurz said. “I also don’t think we should be in the business of temporary solutions.”
Vail Daily Business Editor Scott Miller can be reached at 970-748-2939 and firstname.lastname@example.org.