Friday, November 22, 2013

Reclaiming Open Space for Higher Standards of Living

Staff Writer, DL Mullan
Community Interest / Environment

Thanks to the economic downturn and shortsightedness, golf courses are being neglected so that owners may rake in development money. 

Luckily, municipalities are not falling for the bait and switch: run down a property into disrepair to sell it off for track housing. There's a new sheriff in town and it is called: cooperation and foresight.

"At the same time many golf courses are falling into disrepair, city officials, developers, and residents nationwide are working to tackle the challenge of how to protect open space in an economical and environmentally conscious way." 

That's right, people are saying no to paving over a tree so they can put in a parking lot with cookie cutter houses. Imagine that.

"When undertaken with a thoughtful eye toward the needs of the larger community and with a genuine respect for the natural environment, golf course repurposing can serve as an opportunity to create amenities that will serve the community long into the future. Rather than shortsightedly replicating conventional residential subdivisions, we encourage stakeholders to see the former courses as opportunities for innovative, sustainable development."

Since golf courses are built the way they are, residential golf courses are great for repurposing the land into a multi-use recreational facility for communities. Hiking, biking, amphitheaters, farmer's markets, the sky is the limit for creative and justifiable ways to use this sacred open, green space.

"Local governments need not fear onerous management costs as precedents abound for contracting all or part of the operational responsibilities. Suitably-sized and located developments can both subsidize new facilities and benefit from their subsequently increased property values."

There are huge economic benefits, even boosts, to managing an open space correctly. Housing development seems to be not one of those options. It is amazing what a repurposed golf course could provide in a community: 

"The establishment of a public farm could serve not only as a source of local food but could also provide educational opportunities for students and other community members. A municipal-scale composting facility could prevent huge amounts of waste from being landfilled while also adding to the municipality’s coffers through the sale of nutrient-rich compost, top soil and mulch. With stormwater management requirements becoming ever more stringent, repurposed golf courses could provide areas for rain gardens offering localized treatment options for adjacent developments and stormwater credits, while also potentially qualifying for conservation easements and wetland credits."

So housing as a default mechanism for defunct golf courses is definitely ending as a streak. Cities and their residents want more for the limited open/green space at their disposal.  It just takes leadership on behalf of the City Councils to realize that community, family, thought and caring come before corporate profits and those economic, environmental, and social benefits are rewarded.

Source: LandThink