As the city of Madison, Wis., discusses the future of the golf course, residents are being asked to weigh in on potential “park alternative” options for the property, which could include playgrounds, gardens, basketball courts, a disc golf course, and 5.5 acres set aside as a conservation area for ecological education. Conversion of the course could begin as early as next year.
After several years of discussions and months surveying and planning, residents will get a chance this week to weigh in on the future of Nine Springs Golf Course in Madison, Wis., the Madison-based Wisconsin State Journal reported.
The city’s Parks Commission will hold a public hearing March 6 on whether to maintain the nine-hole course for golf or convert it into a city park, the Journal reported.
Surveys last year asked residents what type of park they’d like to see if the golf operation were to cease. Those resulted in a “park alternative” from city staff, which provides a concept of how the land could be used if not for golf, the Journal reported.
The current alternative includes areas designated for playgrounds, gardens, basketball courts, a soccer field, a disc golf course and an adult fitness area. Another 5.5-acre piece of the course would be set aside as a conservation and restoration area for ecological education, the Journal reported.
Nine Springs is in no danger of immediate change. Fitchburg renewed a one-year lease with golf pro Sam Schultz for 2014 in which the city provides $20,000 to help with maintenance costs, the Journal reported.
But with the City Council scheduled to rule on the matter in May, conversion of the course could begin next year with money from the 2015 capital and operating budgets, said Scott Endl, parks director.
There is time to make adjustments to the alternative plan between Thursday’s public hearing and when the Plan Commission and City Council take up the matter later this month, Endl said. The council is expected to determine on May 13 whether to pursue the alternative or leave Nine Springs as a golf course, the Journal reported.
“This decision is a decision that council members will have to take very seriously because it’s a 33-acre piece of land and it’s right along the gateway to our city,” said Mayor Shawn Pfaff, who has yet to take a stance on the course’s future.
Pfaff regularly plays the course in summer and is sympathetic to the concerns of golfers, but added that the city should examine what uses best serve the neighborhood and the city, the Journal reported.
“The pro-golf crowd definitely has let their message be heard. But that’s why we’ve also gone through this extensive process and had interviews with people that maybe don’t always come to City Council meetings. We want to make sure we hear from everybody.
“This is a once in a multi-generational decision because if you were to change it from a golf course, it’s hard to get a golf course back,” Pfaff said.