Questions Remain in Golf Course/Park Debate
To the editor:
I am concerned about the political process that may turn Patrick Eagan Park into a golf course.
The Golf Course Exploratory Committee, mostly Eagan residents, is doing a good job of researching and evaluating a potential golf course using Mr. McCarthy's land (even though he has publicly stated to the mayor and City Council that he doesn't want to sell his land and home) as well as options using, besides is land, none, a little, most of and all of Patrick Eagan Park. All the options use the smaller Barbara Curry Park located just off Wescott Road.
On Monday, Jan. 7, the golf course committee reported on its findings to date stating that with no land costs at all, a golf course might be self-sustaining but could be on a razor's edge. Also noted were LAWCON concerns (LAWCON places severe restrictions on park land use that was partially acquired with LAWCON money and golf courses are not an approved use in Minnesota).
The assessed value of the McCarthy and Anderson properties is around $10.8 million and the committee felt this expense and the estimated $5 million ot build a golf course was not a good risk economically. Mayor Awada directed them to complete their study and hinted that "holes could be filled."
Now is the time for public discussion as the final Golf Course Exploratory Committee report complete with consultants'layouts and balance sheets will be presented Feb. 5 and our City Council will only have a month or two to decide yes or no, as the city moratorium on the McCarthy and Anderson properties is running out.
1. What is the impact of a municipal golf course on existing area courses and is this even a fair thing for a government entity to do? What will the cost to taxpayers be for a golf course infrastructure, where will irrigation water come from in times of drought, how much and where will traffic increase and what will be the impact of industrial amounts of fertilizer, fungacides and insecticides draining into Eagan's water table?
2. If the McCarthy and Anderson land is used at the assessed $10.8 million and the city will pay for it, citizens should discuss this, especially at a time of economic downturn when state payments to cities will probably be reduced. If there are "deep pockets" behind the scene, what strings are attached? All of Patrick Eagan and Barbara Curry Parks?
3. If the city condones park destruction for these two parks, how safe are the rest of Eagan's parks?
Taking this to the extreme, in a few years our city symbol of the Lone Oak could indeed refer to a lone oak in the last, lonely park. or even worse, a potted plant in city hall.