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Letter: Argument to replace golf course has holes in it

Letter to the Editor graphic
We are part of The Trust Project.

This letter contains a subset of the information that was sent to Mayor Norton, the City Council and the Park Board.

The proposal is the result of a flawed consultant survey sent to a random sample of residents and not directly to park and rec users. The survey participants asked for more free parks.

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The NGF Study stated that if Soldiers Field Golf Course is closed, 15,000 of approximately 30,000 rounds currently played there would be lost. The remaining 15,000 rounds could be played at the other city courses. Data suggests we play May through October with shoulder seasons in April and November. Those few months host all high school events, fundraising tournaments, leagues, league events and championships, as well as open play.

The consultants also: 1. Said golf was fading, 2. Provided no cost data. The city of Rochester has no shortage of parks, as an average of 35 acres of parkland are added each year, as all new subdivisions must have a required percentage of parkland acres.

Golf land usage is 243,000 hours each year and now that COVID exists, there is widespread golf participation. Golf is the largest park and rec revenue contributor.

The proposal would change 50 acres of Soldiers Field golf land, effectively 100% free fee based, self sufficient golf land into parkland. Because parkland has only 3% fee based support, the future 50-acre parkland drain on taxpayers at present budgeted expense and capital costs would be $188,402 per year in perpetuity. Thus, taxpayer total cost for 10 years is $1,884,020, and for 30 years is $5,652,060.

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The city also has a responsibility to high school golf boys and girls participation in addition to the men and women who golf Soldiers Field.

In 1926, Dr Graham gave the Soldiers Field land gift with designated land use of: first priority, a golf course, and then to include room for other sports and activities. That has been done. It seems egregious of the City of Rochester to violate that land gift to the city 96 years later.

Craig Martens, Rochester

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