DNR rejects offer to save Fort Ridgley golf course
FAIRFAX -- The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has rejected an offer by the city of Fairfax and Friends of the Fort Ridgely State Park to operate the golf course in the state park.
FAIRFAX - The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has rejected an offer by the city of Fairfax and Friends of the Fort Ridgely State Park to operate the golf course in the state park.
With the announcement of that decision, the DNR said it intends to move ahead with its plan to remove the golf course this coming spring, according to Philip Leversedge, deputy director of Parks and Trails with the DNR. The DNR informed the city of Fairfax and the Friends group of its decision this week, according to a news release from the DNR.
"Disappointed,'' said Randy Krzmarzick, a member of the Friends group.
The Friends group has not given up on saving the golf course, despite the decision, he added. He described the course as a valuable asset to the region that should not be destroyed.
"We think the vast majority of people out here support us,'' said Krzmarzick. He added that he was frustrated that a small number of people in St. Paul "could make a decision that impacts hundreds of people out here."
The Friends of Fort Ridgely and city of Fairfax had submitted a lengthy proposal in late summer to the DNR offering to take over operations of the golf course, according to Krzmarzick.
In rejecting the offer, the DNR said it "is not viable because it relies on alcohol sales, motorized cart rental, and other activities that are inconsistent with Minnesota Statutes and state park rules.''
Krzmarzick said the proposal included selling 3.2 beer and offering cart rentals as possible revenue sources. He said the possible beer sales were not central to the proposal. He said the city of Minneapolis operates a golf course near Fort Snelling State Park and offers beer sales and cart rentals at it.
The DNR plans to begin removal of the nine-hole golf course and restoration of the site at Fort Ridgely in the spring. The DNR said it has been working with a Citizens Advisory Committee and stakeholder groups to explore future options for the park. The recommendations are being finalized and will be available for review in mid-December.
"While golfing will not be available at Fort Ridgely State Park, DNR is committed to managing and investing in this beautiful and historically significant state resource into the future,'' said Leversedge in the announcement.
Krzmarzick said the Friends will be meeting with area legislators in the coming week to seek their help in keeping the golf course. Rep. Tim Miller, R-Prinsburg, had helped the group draft the proposal to operate the course and has supported the effort to keep it, Krzmarzick said.