In response to two recent articles in The Advocate (May 8 and June 28), let me first begin by saying that I am not a golfer. However, I am not in favor of eliminating City Park Golf Course.
On this issue, our spark the park “visionaries” seem to have either tunnel vision or ulterior motives. While many recreational authorities across the country are incorporating and expanding structured activities such as golf into their park designs, our visionaries are considering eliminating an historic, well-designed and often-played course.
According to a recent article in The Advocate, the entire City-Brooks Community Park comprises 154 acres. The golf course occupies only 26 of those acres. So there is ample excess acreage at City-Brooks Community Park to incorporate many of the proposed “park” design features, and expand walking and running trails without compromising the golf course.
If budget cuts require the closure of BREC golf courses, there are several other courses that have significantly less play that should be considered for closure before the City Park course. Moreover, golf course “repurposing” does not necessarily solve anything.
One only has to look at what has happened recently to several closed golf courses in the area: Briarwood is now home to the new Woman’s Hospital, Shenandoah Country Club has become a single-family residential neighborhood and Fairwood Country Club is a failed residential development.
And while none of those were BREC facilities, it speaks volumes to the perceived value placed on large tracts of prime undeveloped real estate. Can’t happen here you say? Think again.
Anyone who spends any time in and around the area knows that bikers, runners and walkers generally travel “the lakes.” I walk around the golf course every morning (and don’t in any way feel slighted that I can’t walk on it), and I bicycle a 7.5-mile course around the lakes in the afternoon.
Our visionaries should expand their vision. The “park” area should be viewed by the visionaries as including everything from City-Brooks Community Park up to and including Baton Rouge Beach across from sorority row.
I know that BREC doesn’t own and control the lake right-of-way between City Park and LSU. But expand your vision. With cooperative endeavor agreements between controlling public entities, the money spent to destroy the golf course could be used to offset some the cost of dredging the LSU lakes.
Our visionaries could then build more and safer walking trails, incorporate very nice park and water features throughout the area, have ample green space and preserve an historic golf course. Now that would be visionary.
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