Closure of popular public golf course irks Edina putters - New York News

Closure of popular public golf course irks Edina putters

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Photo by Paul Blume Photo by Paul Blume
EDINA, Minn. (KMSP) -

The future of a popular Edina golf course seemed about as sure as a shot from a sand trap on Tuesday as the City Council prepared to reconsider closing the Fred Richards Golf Course.

City staff proposed closing the course to improve the finances of Edina's municipal golf operation, but many residents say the trouble on the links won't be solved by shuttering a beloved spot for beginners.

The small, 9-hole course can be found in an Edina neighborhood just off Highway 100 and Interstate 494, and those who don't want to see it go are accusing the city of failing to look at other options.

"It's an important piece of our community," Colleen Wolfe told Fox 9 News. "I think it's an amenity that we really need to slow down and make sure that it's right to get rid of. Once you dig up a golf course, you can't put it back in."

Despite the dozens who turned out to show support for the small course, the City Council ultimately decided that 2014 will be its last season and leaders have promised a park will take its place.

In an attempt to delay the decision, more than 200 residents asked the state Environmental Quality Board (EQB) to require the city to make an environmental assessment of any changes to the site.

The city of Edina received a letter from the EQB, including the petition to the city, which stated in published documents that "if the decision is made to close the golf course, the City will undertake a planning process for the future use of the property but no project or action has been decided upon, nor is one pending."

The meeting began at Edina City Hall Council Chambers at 7 p.m., but the issue wasn't addressed until late in the evening. Earlier in the day, Edina Mayor Jim Hovland correctly predicted the vote would be a close one.

"I think the issue of what to do with municipal golf is one that is kind of roiling around the country," Hovland said. "It's an issue we need to address too."

In the end, council members voted 3-2 to close the course. The sport's popularity has declined in recent years.

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