McLuen Estate Gift

Extensive Renovations Complete at Panorama West

It’s been a busy year of construction at the Panorama West golf course. A new irrigation system was installed, and new sections of concrete cart paths were added. Old landscape beds surrounding the clubhouse were renovated, with new rock, shrubs and perennial flowers added.

A gift of more than $473,000 from James and Joyce McLuen financed these major construction projects, along with other improvements. Twenty percent of their estate was directed to Friends of Lake Panorama to be used at Panorama West.

A bench, plaque and sign honoring the McLuens is near the pro shop door.

In late August, a three-year project to improve turf conditions of fairways and tees began. Fifteen acres of tees and fairways were aerified and interseeded, plus starter fertilizer applied. Funds have been earmarked for 2019 and 2020 to cover additional seed, fertilizer and weed control as turf conditions improve.

Six directional signs have been added to the course at various locations. These signs direct players to the par-four tee boxes on five holes, plus show where carts should park near the par-four tee boxes on the fourth hole.

Granite yardage markers have been installed in the ground on the par-3 tee boxes to show distances from the red and blue tees. Sign posts have been installed on all tee boxes, and tee signs will be attached in the spring. Ball washers and trash receptacles also will be added in the spring.

The new concrete cart paths have been backfilled, with some seeding and sodding done. Additional work will be needed in the spring to get grass growing along the new paths.

One final project will be discussed over the winter. That involves renovation of the six sand traps on the course. Once a plan is finalized, bids will be sought and construction will take place in 2019.

Panorama West Improvements Underway

Installation of a new irrigation system at the Panorama West golf course began in late May 2018. The system will make it possible to water all fairways, tees and greens on the course, which wasn’t possible with the existing system.

The work is possible because of a gift from Jim and Joyce McLuen, who died in 2016. The McLuens stated the bequest was to be used at the Panorama West golf course.

Landscapes Unlimited, which has its home office in Lincoln, Nebraska, was the low bidder for the irrigation project. The first materials were delivered May 21, and work began a week later. Construction is to be complete by July 30.

The course remains open during construction. Work is being done on one hole at a time, which means each hole will be closed for a few days.

Another improvement made possible by the McLuen gift is updated landscaping around the clubhouse. In early June, Wood Brothers Landscaping removed undesirable plants and trimmed shrubs that would stay.

Old pea gravel was removed from the beds on the north and west sides of the clubhouse, and replaced by river rock. New shrubs and perennials have been added to the landscaped beds on all four sides of the clubhouse, with new pea gravel added on the south and east. A flowering crab tree also was placed on the east side.

A six-foot metal bench has been ordered, and will be placed in the landscape bed near the clubhouse entrance. A bronze plaque on the bench will express appreciation to the McLuens. A second plaque with additional detail also is planned.

New signs, yardage markers, ball washers and trash receptacles have arrived, yet another improvement made possible by the McLuen gift.

Each of the 15 tee boxes now will have a sign showing distances to the green from all tee markers. Nine of the posts will have trash receptacles attached, with five of these also holding ball washers. Having the trash receptacles and ball washers mounted on these single posts will make maintenance easier.

Six additional signs will be added to the course at various locations. These signs will help direct players to the par-four tee boxes that exist on five holes, plus make it clearer where carts should park near the par-four tee boxes on the fourth hole.

Eighteen 5”x7” granite yardage markers will be installed on the nine par-three tee boxes, showing distances to the green from both the red and blue tee markers. All signs, tee markers and other new items will be installed as staff time allows, and in coordination with the irrigation construction.

Once the irrigation construction is complete, attention will turn to a cart path improvement plan. This will include adding concrete paths to most par-four tee boxes, plus a section of concrete adjacent to par-three tee boxes where none currently exists. A decision on the extent of the cart path additions will be made once bills for the irrigation work have been paid.

In fall 2018, a three-year project to improve turf conditions of fairways and tees will begin. Fifteen acres of tees and fairways will be aerified and interseeded, plus starter fertilizer applied. This project will result in better disease and drought-tolerant turf conditions.

In 2019 and 2020, funds will be added to the existing Panorama West annual operating budget for additional seed, fertilizer and weed control as turf conditions improve.

Panorama West Upgrades Moving Forward

At its November 28 meeting, the Lake Panorama Association board of directors received a task force report on using the $473,000 James and Joyce McLuen estate gift to improve the Panorama West golf course. Jan Reinicke, president of the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors, presented the report.

Reinicke started by outlining the process taken to gather input. A meeting was held September 11 for those who wanted to offer suggestions in person. Representatives of each of the three Panorama West golf leagues made presentations, sharing ideas gathered from league meetings where members discussed options. More than 40 people submitted ideas by leaving cards or survey forms in a suggestion box.

On September 27, three Iowa State University turfgrass specialists toured the golf course, reviewed the list of suggestions made, and provided feedback. Later that day, a task force made up of three representatives each from the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors and the Lake Panorama National board of managers held its first meeting. A second meeting was held November 14.

Reinicke told the LPA board recommendations by the task force were prioritized based on membership input. She reviewed the task force report, which LPA board members had received in advance.

The top six task force recommendations included plans for new irrigation, additional concrete cart paths, new signage and tee box amenities, landscaping around the clubhouse, improving turf condition on tee boxes and fairways, and replacing sand bunkers with grass bunkers.

Reinicke closed her presentation by saying these planned improvements at Panorama West will result in a better golf course, and should lead to more memberships, more green fees and more outings to help increase revenues for the operation.

After discussion, the LPA board voted to defer a decision on bunkers, and approved all other recommendations. Friends of Lake Panorama now is moving forward to plan and finance the five priority items approved by the LPA board.

Irrigation was suggested by the membership more than any other project. It also is the most expensive project considered by the task force. The current system, which is used to water only tees and greens, is 45 years old. A new pump, irrigation lines, heads and control system are needed.

An irrigation system plan now is being developed and bids will be sought after the plan is approved. It’s anticipated the planning and bidding process will be completed by mid-February, and construction will take place in 2018.

Cart paths are the second priority, and the second most expensive project. Paths to par-4 tee boxes currently are rock or dirt. Existing concrete paths are adjacent to the par-3 tee boxes on holes #1 and #4. The task force report stated additional concrete paths would improve the appearance and condition of the course, plus reduce maintenance costs. Once the irrigation cost is established, the task force and LPN staff will decide where cart paths will be added.

New signage and tee box amenities were next on the task force’s priority list. Current wooden signs on the par-3 tee boxes list only back tee yardages, not forward tee yardages. There are no signs on the par-4 tee boxes. Signs are needed in six locations to help players find desired tee boxes. In-ground yardage markers are lacking in some locations. Existing trash cans and ball washers are old and mismatched.

The task force report stated new signs and tee box amenities would have an immediate impact on the beautification of Panorama West. Following the LPA board’s approval, new signs, yardage markers, ball washers and trash receptacles were ordered. Installation of these items will be in 2018, and based on the timing of other projects.

The clubhouse needs to be an attractive and welcoming venue, with low maintenance landscaping. Current plantings were installed 20 years ago. Landscaping around the complete perimeter of the clubhouse now is scheduled for spring.

Junipers and other undesirable plants will be removed, and some existing shrubs trimmed. Then up to 40 new shrubs and 80 perennials will be added to the landscaping beds. To recognize the generous estate gift from the McLuens, a plaque will be incorporated into the landscaped bed near the clubhouse entrance.

The fifth priority project is to use McLuen funds over the next three years to improve turf conditions of fairways and tees. Currently greens are aerified annually, and the greens turf is in excellent condition. The turf on tees and fairways is of poor quality, with a significant amount of clover and crabgrass.

Fairways and tees will be aerified, seeded and fertilized in fall 2018. Money will be set aside for additional seed, fertilizer and weed control on fairways and tees in 2019 and 2020. This will be on top of the existing Panorama West annual operating budget. This project will result in turf conditions on fairways and tees that are more drought-tolerant and disease-resistant.

The task force recommendation included two other items. There are 60 ash trees on the course. Ten of those are being treated annually in an effort to save them, but it’s expected at least 50 will die in the coming years. In addition, other trees on the course are overgrown or in poor condition. Areas where new trees are desired have been identified.

If funds from the McLuen gift remain after the five high priority projects are complete, some trees could be purchased. This is an area where individuals and golf leagues also could donate either cash or trees through Friends of Lake Panorama to help beautify the golf course.

Finally, the Panorama West Golf Course has never been rated to determine distance and slope. This information is needed before rounds played on the course can be used to establish and maintain an official handicap through the GHIN  (Golf Handicap and Information Network) program.

Once major course improvements are complete, a team from the Iowa Golf Association (IGA) can rate the course. There is no cost for this IGA service, since Panorama West operates under LPN management. This information would be incorporated when new scorecards are printed.

Since the LPA board asked the issue of sand traps be revisited, Friends of Lake Panorama has handed off this topic to the LPN. The LPN board of managers and staff reviews facility needs annually as part of its capital budget request to LPA.

Process Underway to Determine Use of Estate Gift

The process of determining how the McLuen estate gift to Friends of Lake Panorama will be used is underway. Friends, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, is dedicated to improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. The McLuen will states the $473,700 gift is for the “upkeep, beautification or expansion” of the Panorama West golf course.

A meeting was held at Panorama West September 11, where those who wanted to offer suggestions in person had a chance to speak. Representatives of each of the three Panorama West golf leagues made presentations, sharing ideas gathered from earlier meetings where league members discussed options.

Prior to the September 11 input meeting, more than 40 people submitted ideas by leaving cards or completed survey forms in a suggestion box in the Panorama West pro shop.

A task force made up of three representatives each from the Friends of Lake Panorama board of directors and the Lake Panorama National board of managers will hold its first meeting in late September. Task force members will review all input, prioritize potential projects, and work with staff to gather project cost estimates and discuss feasibility.

The next step will be the development of a formal report to present to the Lake Panorama Association board of directors sometime this fall. Since the Panorama West golf course is owned by the LPA, formal action on the task force recommendations rests with the LPA board.

LPA members who have not yet submitted their suggestions are welcome to do so. This can be done by sending an email to staff@friendsoflakepanorama.org.

The McLuens were some of the first homesteaders at Lake Panorama. Their home was located near Sunset Beach, and they enjoyed boating, fishing and golfing.

Estate Gifts From Former Lake Panorama Couple Distributed

A couple who wintered in Florida and spent their summers at Lake Panorama left behind a legacy that will have a lasting impact on six Panora groups, plus some students attending Drake University.

James and Joyce McLuen both died in 2016. The McLuens were some of the first homesteaders at Lake Panorama. Their home was located near Sunset Beach, and they enjoyed boating, fishing and golfing.

In April, it was announced seven groups would receive bequests from the McLuen estate. Those bequests were received August 23, as checks were presented at the Bump & Bump law office in Panora. William Bump was the McLuen estate executor.

On hand to help present the estate gifts were Dru McLuen of Indianola, Jim’s sister-in-law, and her two sons, Steve and Eric. They shook hands and chatted with check recipients, asking about plans for the gifts and saying they were pleased Jim and Joyce could be so generous.

Also assisting with the check presentations was Dave Grove, an Edward Jones financial advisor in Panora, who helped managed the McLuen estate.

The largest gift, 30 percent of the estate, went to the Drake University College of Pharmacy for student scholarships. John Smith, Drake University’s vice president of university advancement, traveled to Panora to receive a check for $710,550.

“I was overwhelmed by the demonstration of philanthropy from the McLuens,” Smith said. “To see so many beneficiaries of their generosity is a true testament of a life well lived.”

Twenty percent of the estate was directed to Friends of Lake Panorama, a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity dedicated to improving recreational amenities at Lake Panorama. Members of the Friends board were presented a check for $473,700. The gift will be used as stated in the McLuen will, for the “upkeep, beautification or expansion” of the Panorama West golf course.

Both the Panora Library Foundation and the Panora United Methodist Church received 15 percent of the estate, and were presented checks in the amount of $355,275.

Ten percent of the estate, which was more than $236,000, went to Panora P.E.T.S.

The Panora Volunteer Fire Department and Panora EMS each received five percent of the McLuen estate, and accepted checks in the amount of $118,425.

Joyce McLuen attended Drake University in the early 1950s, then worked for the Department of Natural Resources in the state fish hatchery.

Jim McLuen was a graduate of Drake University College of Pharmacy. He served in the United States Army and in 1958 went to work for Burkey Drug in Indianola. He purchased the business in 1966 and renamed it McLuen Drug. He retired when he sold the business to his brother Ed.

Joyce passed away April 19, 2016, in Sarasota, Florida. Following her death, Jim returned to Indianola and passed away November 21, 2016. Inurnment of their cremains was May 16 at the Iowa Veterans Cemetery near Van Meter.