Nicklaus Design has offered to help create a new destination course and also redesign an existing course in the upstate New York city, but the latter project is being seen as a lower priority and not gaining as much traction.
Leaders of the Buffalo (N.Y.) Olmsted Parks Conservancy are expressing cautious interest in civic leader Kevin Gaughan’s proposal for Jack Nicklaus to create a new course near the city’s historic South Park, The Buffalo News reported.
C&RB first reported on the proposal in June: http://clubandresortbusiness.com/2016/06/20/nicklaus-design-help-historic-inner-city-golf-project-buffalo-n-y/
The conservancy’s leadership, however, considers Gaughan’s proposal for Nicklaus to also redesign the city’s Delaware Park golf course to be a lower priority, the News reported. And the conservancy has yet to discuss the proposal with the city, which owns the land.
“This is their property, and we need them to weigh in on this at some point,” Stephanie Crockatt, Executive Director of the conservancy, told the News.
The conservancy has long been interested in restoring famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted’s plan for an arboretum at South Park, the News reported. For that reason, the organization is most interested in relocating the existing South Park golf course to a brownfield that is adjacent to the park, Crockatt said. The conservancy completed its own study for the site in 2014, and Nicklaus has offered to build a destination-caliber golf course there.
“The [conservancy’s long-range planning] committee has been interested in the arboretum project since 2003,” Crockatt told the News. “The idea of the South Park golf relocation—and whether we can realize one of the Frederick Law Olmsted landscapes that was never put in the ground—piques their interest. That’s especially the case with the 150th anniversary of the parks coming on line in 2018.”
Gaughan’s proposal to redo the Delaware Park golf course would lead to more of the meadow being reclaimed for general park use, the News reported. It is also in line with the conservancy’s master plan, adopted in 2008, which calls for restoring more of the meadow by halving the number of golf holes in Delaware Park to nine, or even removing them entirely if a comparable golf course was nearby.
While sharing Gaughan’s goal, the conservancy still considers the Delaware Park proposal to be a lower priority, but is willing to consider it, Crockatt told the News.
Her comments came after Gaughan, with Olmsted historian Francis Kowsky, recently presented his plan to the conservancy’s long-range planning committee.
Crockatt said the conservancy requested financial and feasibility studies for both proposed golf courses, information on how much local or regional financial support would be anticipated for a project Gaughan has vowed to fund privately, and on his plans to create a not-for-profit entity to lead the initative, the News reported.
The conservancy also asked to be on an advisory steering committee that Gaughan is setting up.
Gaughan was invited to meet again with the committee in September, and also with the conservancy’s full Board of Trustees, the News reported.
The plan for South Park has drawn considerable interest, Crockatt said. “I must say we have had better attendance at our committee meetings thanks to this topic,” she said. “It’s getting a lot of attention.”
Some park adherents and Olmsted enthusiasts want to see the golf course, which provides revenues that help to sustain conservancy operations, removed from Delaware Park, the News reported.
Gaughan, whose brother, Vincent, is an executive at a Nicklaus-affiliated company, said he was encouraged by the committee’s reaction.“I was thrilled with the trustees’ favorable response to each element of my plan,” he said.
Gaughan plans to have the long-range planning committee hear from John Reese, CEO of Nicklaus Companies, based in North Palm Beach, Fla., and banker John Thornton, Gaughan’s fundraising partner who is a former president of Goldman Sachs and co-chairman of the Brookings Institution, the News reported. Gaughan also plans to schedule public meetings in September.