Fitchburg council opts against turning golf course into park - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Fitchburg council opts against turning golf course into park

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FITCHBURG (WKOW) -- The Fitchburg Common Council voted 7-1 Tuesday night against turning the city's only, public-owned golf course into a park.

Nine Springs Golf Course is located just south of the Beltline's intersection with Fish Hatchery Road.

The City of Fitchburg owns the course but has been leasing it out to Sam Schultz, a golf pro, since 1999. Schultz said he doesn't make any money off of the course. He said he spends $20-thousand to $25-thousand annually to maintain it.

The city has been providing Schultz with a $20-thousand, yearly subsidy since 2012.

Mayor Shawn Pfaff said the inclusion of the city money towards the golf course in the 2012 budget spurred a two year debate, which often grew heated, about whether to convert the course into a park.

Pfaff and all of Fitchburg's Alders are in agreement that more park space is needed in the city -- especially in its northern section where the golf course is located.

But Alders Tuesday decided that park space should not come at the expense of the city's only golf course. Several expressed concern that building a replacement golf course down the road would be too costly for the city to do.

Several alders also spoke of coming up with a third, hybrid option -- in which the golf course remains in tact but the city also adds new park space.

Pfaff said a local developer has expressed interest in developing the area around Nine Springs Golf Course so that it includes a park, senior citizen housing and a golf course. He said details on the development, should the inquirer seek to pursue it, could come forward in the next few months.

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