Holtzman expects the new artificial turf will last eight to 10 years.

Council member Ray O’Connell joked that the turf still won’t improve Council President Julio Guridy’s golf game.

“It’s not a miracle product,” added council member Jeff Glazier.

A 6-foot-wide concrete pavement will run along the back of the upgraded tee-off area and the improved driving range will be handicapped accessible.

The range is used year-round, said John Mikowychok, the city’s parks and recreation director. It is large enough for 20 golfers to practice their swings.

Revenue from the driving range has increased dramatically in the last three years, reported Mikowychok. It generated $116,287 in 2010 and $151,139 in 2012. “The expected revenue by the end of this year will be $160,000.”

Mikowychok predicted the improvements will increase annual revenue from the driving range to $180,000 by the end of 2014.

Holtzman said the city is considering putting roofs over part of the driving range tee-line so people can use the range even in bad weather, which would increase revenue even more.

Dams in city parks

Members of council’s parks and recreation committee anticipate a lively public discussion about plans to remove two dams on Lehigh Creek in the Parkway when their committee meets at 6 p.m. Aug. 28.

Based on phone calls he’s already received about the issue, O’Connell, who serves on that committee, expects the discussion will continue for more than an hour.

One dam is in the Robin Hood section of the Parkway, the other is farther upstream, just off Fish Hatchery Road near the trout nursery.

The Wildlands Conservancy plans to remove those dams, with the city’s approval, as well as a third dam near Keystone Road at the western edge of the Parkway.

Some residents are especially opposed to removing the dam just below the Robin Hood bridge. At least one man claims flood waters may take out that bridge if the dam is removed.

Council’s resolution to remove the dam in Jordan Park was titled “restoring nature to an inner city park.”

Removal of that dam began last month. While the dam is gone, work still is being done in that section of the park.

“This is removing a serious safety hazard from a city park,” said Mikowychok
He explained corrugated metal pipes and concrete culverts of different diameters that carried water through that dam were an attractive nuisance for children who would “shoot through those tubes.”

If children miscalculated and went through a tube that was too narrow, they also could have become trapped.

Council member Cynthia Mota said she is glad the dam has been removed because she saw a child almost drown there last summer.

Holtzman said several dogs swimming in the creek above the dam got trapped in those pipes and drowned.

Mikowychok said the stream bed at the dam site also is being narrowed, “from 91 to 64 feet wide.” He said banks are being stabilized and trees and shrubs will be planted in fall.

“We’ve gotten several calls from people who have commented on how nice it is looking,” he said. “These were people who couldn’t imagine what the stream would look like without the dam.”

Last year council received a $40,100 state grant to pay the city’s share of removing the dam.

Council’s action was called housekeeping, because it involved authorizing the mayor to sign the grant agreement.

Vendor law