The Brookings City Council will continue looking at priority issues at Salmon Run golf course in an attempt to get the municipal amenity back in the black.

The three improvements discussed at a city council meeting Monday night were among those recommended this summer by Golf Convergence, a Denver-based golf industry firm that examined everything from the books to the blackberries at the local golf course.

The priorities include how to get water to Salmon Run golf course, pursuing a lease with South Coast Lumber to expand the driving range on its property there, and developing a vegetation control plan to make the course more player-friendly.

Conducting all the proposed work would cost about $19,000, and while some elements could be addressed fairly soon, obtaining permits for others could take up to two years.

The primary priority for providing long-term stability for the course is obtaining a permanent water source. Currently it is provided by a private, year-to-year agreement between Ted Freeman and The Claveran Group, which leases the golf course property from the city, and that The Claveran Group would like to continue.

The original idea was to draw water from Jacks Creek in the winter and store it in lakes on the golf course for irrigation in the summer. That water connection was never developed.

Another idea was to provide a new diversion point complete with pump structure and transmission line to take water from the Chetco River near the confluence with Jacks Creek. But that cost exceeds $200,000.

Expanding the driving range to 350 to 400 yards in length and 100 yards wide could help generate money and encourage more rounds on the golf course. A 100-yard width, council members noted, is still narrow, and it won't be lined to keep balls out of the forest andndash; again because of its expense andndash; so golfers will still have to come prepared with a lot of golf balls.

The expansion area is owned by South Coast Lumber, which has indicated it is willing to negotiate a lease at a nominal cost.

The city council agreed that staff should pursue that lease agreement, with The Claveran Group being responsible for the development of the range. City costs would include a survey and map preparation.

Golf Convergence officials also recommended removing some trees and cutting back vegetation andndash; notably blackberries andndash; to improve visibility on and playability of the course.

The council agreed the city could incorporate into its twice-yearly maintenance program the mowing of golf cart path edges, but doesn't have the personnel to conduct other work.

The discussion segued to include integrating the proposed improvements with the golf course's overall lease agreement, due in January.

Specifically, the new lease could include in it The Claveran Group's role and responsibility in regards to the driving range, who will be responsible to pursue permitting with agencies regarding tree removal and how vegetation removal could be done. If details of the improvement proposals were to be presented in one lease document, some noted, it would be easier to understand and act upon.

"The bulk of the money is being spent on vegetation and (work) being done before the lease agreement is even talked about," said Councilor Jake Pieper. "There are lots of contractors in town that do this kind of work. We don't have to come to the rescue on this. I don't want to put out any more money until we have the lease agreement."

"I like the idea of getting everything on the same page," Councilor Brent Hodges said. "Otherwise, it's kind of like getting the engineering going before you know what the project is."