Corona: Save The Lakes needs new plan - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

Corona: Save The Lakes needs new plan

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Posted: Thursday, July 31, 2014 6:45 am | Updated: 11:22 am, Tue Oct 21, 2014.

I’ve been an Ahwatukee resident since 1999 and I would love to keep the Lakes golf course, but the truth is I haven’t played golf or supported the local courses in over four years. Not because of any reason other than I don’t golf as much as I used to. People do not spend time playing golf like they used to. I played three-four times a week back in the ’90s, but now play less than one time every four years. How many of you actually play golf and supported the Lakes or Country Club?

If everyone who wants to save the lakes were as passionate about playing golf as they are about keeping the lakes open, we wouldn’t have this issue. Not supporting local businesses will only drive those businesses away.

I went to the meeting last week with an open mind and still on the fence. After hearing and watching people who want to save the lakes behave like third-graders, it was easy for me to decide what I didn’t want to be associated with. When you are disrespectful, speak out of turn or over another person, you then become the problem and not the solution. If your child was to behave like some of you, I bet you would be disappointed with them and correct them.

People seemed extremely mad at Wilson Gee and Pulte. What I do not get is why they were mad at Pulte. They are trying to purchase the property, develop it and building homes on it.

Did Pulte operate the course? No.

Did Pulte purchase the golf course a year ago? No.

Did Pulte close the golf course? No

Did Pulte fence up the golf course? No

Did Pulte drain the lake? No

Does it really matter what company comes in to develop homes or apartments? Not really, Save the Lakes will bad-mouth a development solution at all costs, so what does it matter?

At Tuesday night’s meeting, some people said that they are willing to wait it out with Gee. Did any of you hear what Pulte said about the contract changing from three years to take as much time needed to gain approvals? This means Gee is willing to let this ride for five to 10 years or even longer. He has the time and money to wait longer than most of you.

Now let’s cover who will not wait. The silent majority of the ABM homeowners will not wait more than two-three years without a solution from Save the Lakes. Let be candid, dreaming a golf operator will buy the course from Gee at an acceptable price and spend millions to redevelop the property to barely break even running a golf course is not a solution. Suppose the deed restriction does not get changed; what is Save the Lakes next move? They don’t have one. They have hopes and dreams and want someone else to pay for it. Why doesn’t Save the Lakes apply for a loan and each board member can sign up to guarantee the loan with the lending institution and all of you can have control of the golf course? Since you would own it, you can call it “Save the Lakes Golf Club.” You can sell memberships, maybe open a restaurant with dinner specials, hire golf pros, a maintenance crew, purchase or lease golf carts, and the 501(c)4 Save the Lakes can be the benefactor. If you do this, you will not have to ever worry about another buyer ever coming in and wanting to develop it. How serious are you? Get off your backsides, step up to the plate and make an offer to purchase it or find someone who will at a price acceptable to Gee. Talking about it is not going to get it done.

The choices?

“Plan A” is to have a golf course. Unless someone comes up with a buyer, I do not see this plan as a reality and it gets more remote the longer it sits.

“Plan B” is amending the Lakes deed restriction and working to have some influence with Pulte. Or we can say no and sit and wait for a miracle. Maybe the next developer a few years down the road will want to build apartments or homes without the 38 percent open space and public trails. If this happens, which one person or group (aka Save the Lakes) should held accountable for wasting years and not supporting the first choice?

I have heard the term “open space,” Currently, the so-called open space is private property and I am not allowed on it at all. When the golf course was open, I could walk on open space if I paid my green fees. If Pulte’s plan is developed, we will have the ability to walk on an open-space trail and not have to pay for it. That seems to solve the open-space alternative.

“Plan C” is Pulte pulls out. Then what? Watch Gee do nothing for years? Wait for another developer to come in start this all over again? Wait for the supporters of the Save the Lakes to come up with a solution? Can Save the Lakes come up with a plan to purchase the land, redevelop it, maintain it and be 100 percent fully responsible for it without ever asking me for a dime? If you really want to save the lakes, then get your bank accounts together and make an offer to Gee. If not, then stop wasting time by bad-mouthing Pulte, the ABM and spreading misinformation that’s been distributed to me. Let’s move this effort forward with a company that can actually execute a solution. Pulte has a plan, and Save the Lakes’ plan is to let it waste away and turn back to desert landscape that will still be private property and no one allowed on it. If this was to happen, who will be the first one to complain about dust and wildlife eating your pet for lunch?

I have also heard people say that the ABM needs to get involved. The reality is that the only say the ABM Board of Directors has is to sign the letter of consent or not. That is it; any other involvement opens the door for lawsuits and will be a waste of the HOA fees we all pay. The ABM Board of Directors is smart to stay out of this because they have no authority to govern the property.

We need to ask ourselves this: What is the solution? How do we efficiently get there? How much will it cost? How much of that cost am I willing to pay?

Nothing is ever free — someone always pays for it — it could be you or someone else, but it gets paid for.

WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?

• Edward Corona is an Arizona native, retired and Ahwatukee resident since 1999. Reach him at corona2000@cox.net.

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