Council votes to keep Nine Springs Golf Course

Scott Girard

Fitchburg’s city council voted Tuesday to keep Nine Springs a golf course rather than turn the land into a park.

The vote was 7-1 in favor of the golf course option, with only Ald. Dorothy Krause (Dist. 1) voting for the park alternative plan.

Alders cited a need for “diversity” in the city’s recreational offerings, which many said the golf course offers.

The decision is for 2015, though alders indicated a commitment to the golf course and finding alternative routes to increasing park space in the park-deficient area.

Alders questioned the “this or that” choice between the golf course and park alternative that was presented, with many expressing a hope that there is an “option C” that can be found.

“We were setting ourselves up short for a generational solution by having a 'this or that' conversation,” said Ald. Dan Carpenter (D-3). “I believe (the golf course) in the best interest of our city moving forward, but I will also work to make sure park space is created because I know it’s in the best interest of those residents.”

A majority of speakers and non-speaking residents supported the golf course option, and the council followed suit.

Ald. Steve Arnold (D-4) proposed an amendment that specifically outlined plans and steps for the course and area in 2015, but it failed on a 6-2 vote.

Mayor Shawn Pfaff urged alders to oppose the amendment, hoping for “a little space” in potential negotiations with possible developers in the area.

The vote for the golf course came after nearly a year of outlining a potential alternative plan. The city first began looking into an alternative to the golf course two years ago when it began costing Fitchburg $20,000 rather than bringing in $6,000 as it had previously.

The city held three public hearings to outline the park alternative plan, a Dane County health team conducted an in-depth look at how the city could improve use of the area as a golf course or a park and 703 city residents responded to a city survey asking whether they wanted a golf course or the park alternative plan.

“This has been a robust conversation,” Pfaff said, thanking the involved groups for giving alders the "facts" they needed to vote.

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