Spray Irrigation Upgrade At Eagle’s Landing Stalled

OCEAN CITY – The long awaited installation of a new spray irrigation system at Eagle’s Landing Golf Course may potentially be stalled for another year as the county is unable to commit funding.

Last week the Recreation and Parks Committee toured Ocean City’s golf course, Eagle’s Landing, receiving an update on the upcoming installation of a new spray irrigation system and current operations. Committee Chair Councilman Dennis Dare reported back to the Mayor and City Council of the meeting on Monday evening.

The committee last received an update in March when Eagle’s Landing Golf Course Superintendent Joe Perry reported Worcester County has completed the installation of sewer lines along Route 611 and both Eagle’s Landing Golf Course and the Worcester County Humane Society have been tied in, which will ultimately lead to a new spray irrigation system at the golf course.

Last summer a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was formed between the county and Town of Ocean City to construct a new spray irrigation system at Eagle’s Landing Golf Course.

The County Commissioners built a new Wastewater Treatment Plant for the residential community of Mystic Harbour in West Ocean City. The new irrigation system will allow the treated wastewater effluent from the new Mystic Harbour Wastewater Treatment Facility to be stored and spray irrigated on golf course lands.

The current irrigation system that maintains the golf course is about 25 years old and has been a top priority for replacement for years. The financial impact for the city in capital improvements, credit for equity and future capital charges and compensation for 40 years of EDU charges is a benefit valued at over $2 million.

The Worcester County Humane Society had been dealing with a failing septic system for years and prior to the shelter connecting to the recently installed sewer lines Ocean City spent $35,000 a year on disposal of the wastewater at the animal shelter, which will now be decreased to practically nothing.

At that time, four Requests for Proposals (RFPs) had been received to hire a spray irrigation consultant. However, the golf course was waiting on a go-ahead from the county as funding has not yet been secured.

Last Tuesday Perry reported the county is still waiting for grant funding. According to Perry, Worcester County Deputy Public Works Director John Ross is aware of the deadline necessary to move forward with the project, however, has not been able to commit any new information or progress.

“Basically Worcester County has not received their grant funding so they cannot forward the money for us to proceed with the spray irrigation. However, they did forward fund enough money to authorize us for the consultant to begin their work, and we have the preliminary drawings from them. Now it is a matter of when the construction money will be issued,” Dare said. “The golf course has a window in the off-season to do this work. It can’t really be done effectively during our busy times, and that window is closing in the next couple weeks, so unless something transpires it could be another year until that project moves forward with construction.”

The committee was presented with Irrigation Consultant Mike Kuhn’s plan for the new irrigation system. Perry furthered if the grant does not come through this season, he can make the existing system last for another year if necessary.

“The irrigation system is at its end of life but we have a very confident superintendent, Joe Perry, who keeps it patched together. It is a lot of mechanical and electrical work but he will be able to hopefully keep it functional and operational until the grant money does come through, and we can proceed with construction,” Dare said.

The committee was in consensus to invite Ross to next month’s committee meeting to present an update on the status of the project from the county’s perspective.

While the committee was at Eagle’s Landing, Golf Professional Bob Croll took the opportunity to update the officials on the golf course’s current rate structure and reward programs, such as Local Rewards and the Talon Club.

“Eagle’s Landing’s mission is to attract golfers to Ocean City, to boost tourism, and offer a premium golf experience with attractive prices,” Dare said.

Croll elaborated on Eagle’s Landing’s success of being included in most golf packages because it gives visitors quality golf vacation experiences at reasonable rates. Eagle’s Landing averages about 33,000 rounds per year, ranking among the top two area golf courses.

“After a lot of discussion, the staff will be taking in to consideration comments by our committee when they review next year’s pricing structure this fall. That will be presented to the committee and then to the Mayor and City Council,” Dare said.