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Munson Township: Fowler's Mill Golf Course

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Not sure if this is the best forum for this, but it is a "project" and I think _everyone_ ought to know about this plan.

 

Munson to buy Fowler's Mill Golf Course

 

Published: Wednesday, July 21, 2010

 

By Diane Ryder

Correspondent@News-Herald.com

 

Munson Township trustees have received a $5 million grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to purchase Fowler's Mill Golf Course as a possible township hall site, walking trails and possible picnic grounds, township Trustee Andrew Bushman said.

 

Trustees may decide to use the golf course's 7,660-square-foot clubhouse as a township hall, but that is still under discussion, Bushman said...

 

http://www.news-herald.com/articles/2010/07/21/news/nh2796227.txt

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tl;dr: Fowler's Mill GC is a gem of a course and one of Cleveland's finest. Todd Peterson, the owner of the local competition, Chardon Lakes Golf Course, bought this golf course in December of 2009 for $3.3 million while brokering a deal to have the OHEPA award the township grant money based on a concern about drinking water in the Chagrin River due to pesticide runoff. The township will now pay $5 million to Peterson and bulldoze the course. $1.7 million and the complete destruction of your competition isn't a bad profit for a six month investment.

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Not really..... in the long run, the silver lining is that water will be healthier. The real gem of the area is the Chagrin River,a State Scenic and Wild designation... and rarity in rivers.  For those of us who like to canoe, hike, fish, photograph wildlife, etc...we all spend money on that stuff too... This is different for a change, seeing a golf course bulldozed...as plenty of natural areas were bulldozed for golf courses. I am reminded of Micheal Douglass in the Movie "Falling Down" and what he said to those golfers! I can really relate to Michael, here. But then again, I have always hated golf eventhough I was pretty good at it.

 

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Those people commenting about how Aurora decided not to buy the Aurora Country Club are kinda out of touch with what actually happened.  If the OHEPA had offered Aurora the money to purchase the course it would have been a done deal.  The strongest concerns from residents was that they didn't want the city to try and run a golf course and it ending up being a money pit as a golf course.

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If you take Mayfield Road past Chesterland, Fowler's Mill is to the south on Rockhaven Rd.

Say what you will about the environment, this deal was born out of corruption, not a concern for the water table. If there were truly a problem, the OHEPA would have done what it does to honest business owners and simply shut them down. With a fraction of that $5 million, we can figure out how to run that golf course in a sustainable fashion. Heck, it could be a model for the future.

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That's too bad...it's a great course and a beautiful setting.  Sounds like someone manipulated local politicians to make a profit.

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It is definately one of the best courses I have ever played.  It's a Pete Dye classic!  The only other public course that I would put ahead of it is Torrey Pines and that's only because of the view of the Pacific Ocean.

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This is wrong in so many ways!  Why would you bulldoze a classic course which must employ at least 50 people.  I would bet that there is a cheaper way to keep fertilizer out of the Chagrin River.

Stuff like this makes my head spin.

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1: There are far too many golf courses trying to get business from far too few golfers; I can get a weekend morning tee time at most area courses on a day's notice or even as a walk-on).

 

2: Even with the best golf course maintenance practices, if you want a green, playable course, you will have fertilizer runoff. There is no getting around that, unless you use so little fertilizer that golfers begin to complain (and subsequently stay away).  Money is not the limiting factor: biology, ecology, and chemistry are.

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What about channeling and treating the runoff? Surely something can be done for $5 million besides nuking the course.

 

So, I'm going to treat this as a serious suggestion.

 

Channeling and treating the runoff first means that you have create a wide buffer along the Chagrin River. That means taking out or drastically reconstructing no fewer than six holes, and that's with the assumption that a 100 foot buffer is sufficient (it's not). Would the course still be recognizable as a "gem of a course" or a "Pat Dye classic"?

 

Fact of the matter is if there were enough golfers playing Fowler's Mill, it would not have been for sale either to the Township or to Peterson beforehand. Sinking $5 million into a underused course would be throwing good money after bad.

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The course runoff can be diverted to discrete areas and treated via bioretention (swales, wetlands) and/or infiltration.

 

Yes, but that still will require taking out or redoing holes. Bioswales and wetlands require land, and changing hydrology will require a change in the topography, especially since the Chagrin runs right down the middle of the course, and the entire course drains down into the River. Putting up narrow levees won't do the trick.

 

[EDIT: Really, I don't mean to be snarky, but you can't argue with gravity. If the Chagrin ran alongside Fowler's Mill (similar to how the Rocky River runs alongside Big Met), then bioswales, retention basins, and buffer strips might work. But, the beauty and challenge of Fowler's Mill comes from having the Chagrin right in the freaking middle. Great for a golf course, hell on water quality.]

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What a shame that they are planning to bulldoze that course.  It is such a unique course and I loved playing there.  I also worked on the maintenance crew for 8 years and runoff is a fact of life on all courses I would think.  It's too bad they couldn't do some thing to create a filtration barrier along directly affected holes...9, 10, 12 & 13.  This bums me out.

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Sounds like the course isn't going away after all

 

Munson OKs compromise

 

Published: Thursday, September 09, 2010

 

In a split vote Wednesday night, Munson Township trustees approved a compromise deal, brokered by state Sen. Tim Grendell, that would allow Fowler's Mill Golf Course to remain in business, but would turn over its stretch of the Chagrin River to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

 

The EPA would pay current owners, headed by Chardon attorney and Munson resident Todd Peterson, $3.5 million for a permanent conservation easement of 150 feet on each side of the 1.3-mile stretch of river.

 

Under the agreement, the Peterson group would continue to own and operate the Pete Dye-designed golf course, but would restore the river corridor to its natural state and would re-configure up to six of the course's 27 holes. Part of the $3.5 million would also reimburse the owners for lost income during the restoration.

 

http://www.news-herald.com/articles/2010/09/09/news/nh3006697.txt

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AS you may know by now, this is a dead deal.  The EPA will NOT fund this project.  The course will remain open with the current layout intact.  Hooray for Pete Dye and all local golfers.

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