|City to Create Small Lake at Whittle Springs Golf Course
| March 9, 2011 -
The City of Knoxville is scheduled to begin construction of a small lake on the Whittle Springs Golf Course next week that will improve the appearance of the course and save the city money.
Work on the feature, which will be located on the 18th hole, will start on Monday, March 14, and the water will be used to irrigate the entire North Knoxville golf course. The project is slated for completion in mid-May.
Using water from the lake will allow the City of Knoxville to save about $20,000 a year on its utility bills at the city-owned course. The newly-constructed body of water will cover a little more than an acre and will hold about 1.25 million gallons of water.
The golf course currently uses water from the Knoxville Utilities Board to irrigate the course. The project is part of an ongoing program of energy improvements to city facilities being made through a contract with Ameresco, an energy service company.
"The final product is going to be a really nice lake that makes the course much more attractive," said Joe Walsh, director of Knoxville's Parks and Recreation Department, "and it will also save the city money in the long run."
The downside is that the work will reduce the length of the 18th hole for much of the 51-day construction period. Walsh said the city is working with Billy Casper Golf, which manages the course, on some special packages for golfers during that time.
"We have a really loyal group of players out there and we're trying to build the lake as quickly as we can so to minimize the impact on the golfing community," Walsh said.
Through the constructions duration at Whittle Springs, golfers will be able to receive discounts on playing, either reduced costs on green fees or cart fees.
Walsh said three holes on the course, #1, #10 and #18 will be impacted by the work at different times during the process, though #18 will be most affected.
The first hole will be impacted only during the first week of construction, and there will be construction activity on the 10th hole the following two weeks.
A modified setup for the 18th hole will be made during construction, so that golfers will be able to play a full round of golf.
Whittle Springs' staff will provide updated course information to golfers each day.
Walsh said a combination of rainwater and the well water will keep the lake filled and take the place of the KUB-supplied water. He hopes that rainwater will be all the city needs, even during the hottest, driest weather.
The city and Ameresco entered into the $19 million energy conservation package in 2009 for the improvements aimed at reducing the city's energy costs and consumption. The contract is designed so that the savings generated by those measures will pay for their installation and maintenance at the city's 99 buildings, 37 ballparks and athletic fields and three golf courses.
Construction costs for the new lake is $375,000. The payback period on the project is longer than most Ameresco improvements, though this one differs because it also improves the course.
The entire Ameresco contract calls for the city to realize a total of $19 million in savings in 13 years.
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