SANTA FE, N.M. — Years in the making and a grand study in the drawing together of multiple and diverse factions, the Marty Sanchez Links de Santa Fe celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.
“It all started with golf,” said Maurice Bonal, who headed up the 10-member Municipal Recreation Complex Committee that spearheaded the effort to develop the project. “But golf on its own wouldn’t cut it. Softball and baseball, and then we found the rugby. And soccer moms. There are so many of them. And so we brought in soccer people.”
The complex that eventually also included five soccer fields, four softball fields, a baseball field, a separate nine-hole, par-three golf course and a multipurpose grass field for other recreational activities was carved from 1,200 acres owned by the federal Bureau of Land Management. It cost the city $1 an acre to purchase the land as the BLM has a proviso to allow cities to acquire its land as long as it is used for recreational purposes, Bonal said.
“It helped that there was a guy at BLM in Boulder, Michael Ford, who was a real recreation enthusiast,” Bonal said. “Once we contacted him, his eyes lit up. ‘That’s just what BLM property is for when it’s so close to municipality. We would be looking at any projects you bring us.'”