Letter: Quakers Say No To Driving Range at Oak Hills

  • Comments (4)

NORWALK, Conn. ‒ The Norwalk Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. Please send letters to norwalk@dailyvoice.com.

To the Editor:

The Peace and Service Committee of Wilton Monthly Meeting of Quakers (Religious Society of Friends) met recently and agreed that Oak Hills Park golfing should not be expanded with a driving range. The Park has already almost exclusively benefited the golfing community for over 20 years with a large taxpayer subsidized debt ($3M) to build the restaurant and renovate facilities. 

It is time to shift priorities and to convert Oak Hills Park into a multi-use park that serves the entire community, not only golfers. We believe that the park can and should be re-designed to accommodate a number of other more general public uses, such as:

• An area for a community garden (for those who live too far from or haven't been able to avail themselves of Fodor Farm because of the long waiting list for plots).

• Walking and jogging trails for people who want to stay in shape or enjoy the outdoors. The area where the driving range is proposed is perfect for nature trails, and it would be extremely expensive to blast large faces and fill large valley areas merely to accommodate a driving range.

• A picnic area  and playground facilities similar to those built in Cranbury Park not so long ago.

• A level playing/soccer field.

• A dog run.

• Retain a 9-hole golf course, so that present users not only lose nothing but gain by the expansion of community uses.

New revenues could be gained from charging fees for community gardeners and having a competitive bid process for a new restaurant in that location. We believe it would be in our community’s greatest interest to diversify and expand the uses of this public space to as many citizens as possible.

Diane Keefe

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Comments (4)

Tim T: The Peace and Service Committee of Wilton is not just a community of Wilton Residents. Does your place of worship or community of faith just include people from Norwalk? Many different faith or service communities throughout Fairfield County include people from every town. This letter was written by people who participate in the PSCW but reside in Norwalk.

NorwalkRes2013: Please see the area where the Driving Range is being proposed. It will take millions of dollars to establish a driving range in that spot. Revenue is already being lost to other facilities for golfing when this OHPA shut down the course against the advice of the golf professional during a warm winter when the course was playable.

There is plenty of data out there to show that a 9-Hole Course makes more money than an 18-Hole course nationwide. More people play the shorter courses for a variety of factors including time and they are more profitable. OHPA is also broke and begging for more funds from the City of Norwalk for overhead against the City Charter parameters requiring that Oak Hills be self-sustaining.

Diversification allows for more monetization of activitiies at a lower rate and of interest to all Norwalkers which this Park is supposed to serve.. It is not about the difference in money making between a driving range and a community garden: it is about a break even rate to sustain the Park that provides activities for ALL Norwalkers, not just golfers,.

"The Peace and Service Committee of Wilton "

Why are Wilton Residents telling Norwalk what to do..What we should do is build a super 7 in the center of Wilton.

Currently, when golfers want to go to a driving range, they seek out facilities that can accommodate their needs. That revenue is lost to another facility in another town.
There are plenty of places in Norwalk to go for a walk, to garden, to walk your dog, for picnics and any other outside activity that you feel would fair better than a driving range on a municipal golf course.
I would like to see the revenue difference between a community garden versus a public driving range.

What a fantastic idea! Acres that could serve the whole community vs the few.