- Your Voice
HSL Properties President Humberto S. Lopez recently spoke at the Greater Oro Valley Chamber’s breakfast. He commented on the sale of the Hilton El Conquistador Country Club to the Town of Oro Valley. Lopez stated that he is willing to hold the $1 million offer until May if Oro Valley goes through a referendum process.
I wonder if any of the readers in Oro Valley were paying attention to Gov. Ducey’s State of the State speech? One of the things that really jumped out at me was the fact the State has uncollected sales taxes of 300 Mil. from usinesses. But when it comes to making sure everyone pays his fair share, Ducey’s is of two minds. John Arnold the governor’s budget director said”Ducey doesn’t want to hire more auditors to go out and check the books of businesses to ensure they are collecting and remitting what is due”.
The Oro Valley Town Council has really done it now. They’ve stepped in places that they know nothing about and it has a very unpleasant odor. How does the objective of building a Recreation Center for the Town of Oro Valley wind up with buying 45 holes of golf at a golf course that has never turned a profit, at least of the past eight years that I am familiar with. With all the outside play, member play, food service, and special events centered around golf, El Conquistador CC has always had to be subsidized by the Hilton Hotel operation. Guess what, no hotel in this picture. Sure, Troon Golf is a great managing outfit, and will do their upmost to make the golf profitable. But, they are getting paid by the owners and if the owners don’t have the money to support Troon’s plans then what? I’ll tell you what..... All the hard work the Council has done to keep Oro Valley in the positive financial side of the ledger, will be for not. I applaud the Council for all their efforts on behalf of our community, in times that have most cities in the red. But here, in spite of critics on the other side, golf is not growing as most clubs are losing members still. Further, the younger set – which golf needs to sustain growth – is more captured by soccer and other sports.
On Dec.17, the mayor, with the votes from three other Oro Valley Council Members passed an Ordinance and a Resolution to raise our sales tax and to buy the El Conquistador Country Club facility, including three golf courses for $1,000,000. This was done without Voter Approval.
It is with a mixture of amusement and confusion that I read the cacophony of dissent and support regarding the El Con. purchase. I am going to assume that letter writers are also letter readers. How many times in discussions about downtown Tucson have we heard Portland’s downtown referenced, and the San Antonio riverwalk adnauseam as things and places to emulate. Oro Valley has given itself an opportunity to be in that conversation. A town that is essentially ringed by golf courses in an era when that industry is over built for it’s existing and it’s projected client base can make a cutting edge choice to cut that (by most if not all analysis) financial dead weight.
There is a lot written about the cost the Town might incur with the proposed purchase of the El Conquistador Club. One thing I believe is overlooked is that golf is a sport, much like baseball, softball, tennis, soccer, archery, swimming and lacrosse. The Town currently funds the upkeep and maintenance of numerous sports activities/facilities at a cost to the residents and those who use the facilities. Why should golf be any different? Golf is an excellent recreational sport for all ages, whether you are young and interested in an individual oriented sport or older and looking for exercise and companionship.
I have read with interest the ongoing “conversation” regarding the town purchase of the El Conquistador property, including the latest letter from Mr. Skip Stevens, in your most recent publication.
I found the front page article in your last edition penned by Hillary Davis to be problematic on many fronts.
On Dec.17, the mayor, with the votes from three other Oro Valley Council members passed an ordinance and a resolution to raise our sales tax and to buy the El Conquistador Country Club facility, including three golf courses for $1,000,000. This was done without voter approval.
Upset with the rushed deadlines and lack of transparency in the proposed country club purchase, I had an email exchange with Councilman Joe Hornat just prior to the Dec. 17 meeting. When asked why on earth the town would want to get into a declining industry like the golf course business, Mr. Hornat replied “we don’t want to be in the golf business and that is why we will be hiring Troon to do that.” Really? If the town owns a golf club, it is in the golf course business. Period. And by extension, so are all Oro Valley residents, like it or not.