The Salt Lake City Council got into the swing Tuesday and approved the sale of $10 million in revenue bonds to fund two new 18-hole golf courses, one already under construction next to the Salt Lake International Airport.
Bulldozers have moved tons of dirt onto 204 acres of barren salt flats near the intersection of I-80 and 40th West for what city Recreation Director Scott Gardner called a "championship" golf course.Crews will break ground next week on the second, an 18-hole addition to the Mountain Dell Golf Course in Parleys Canyon which in the winter will serve as an olympic-class cross-country ski center, Gardner said.
City finance officials recently secured a triple-A bond rating from credit rating agencies in New York City for the $10 million in revenue bonds, which will be repaid with funds from green fees and other golf course revenue.
"There's not a dime of taxpayer money going into these courses," Gardner said.
Because of the cost of moving 850,000 cubic yards of dirt, necessary because of the high alkaline soil in the area, the airport course will cost $5.2 million - $2.4 million more than the $2.8 million Mountain Dell course.
On a tour of the airport course, now a rough landscape of earth and rock, Gardner said when it opens in July of 1990, city officials hope to have one of the most challenging courses in the state.
"What we want to do is create one of the finest golf courses in Utah," he said.
The course is designed by Ohio-based golf course architect Arthur Hills, well-known for professional tournament-class courses in other parts of the country, and will serve the novice and the expert, Gardner said.
Thirteen holes are east of 40th West, Gardener said. Golfers can access the other five holes west of the street through a tunnel to be constructed.
Three 21/2 to 10-acre ponds will dominate the grounds of the 7200-yard course but air traffic in and out of the airport will command the skies above the new course.
"The only negative is the noise from the planes," Gardner said, admitting some may be distracted by the din. But he said jet engine noise is not distracting because of the constant nature of the sound.
For those who are persistent in complaining about the airport location, Gardner points out that the location will benefit from eastbound I-80 traffic and beautify an otherwise dry, ugly area of the city.
"What else can you do with this land,"' he said, gesturing over the brown horizon. Besides, he said, "at the end (of your round) you can shower and jump on the plane."
Bulldozers are pushing dirt into rough contours of the course, and in the fall of 1989 crews will begin seeding, Gardner said. Officials hope golfers can take their first swing on the course in July, 1990, he said.