Park District moves forward with plan for Tiger Woods golf course despite opposition

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A plan to create one massive professional golf course on Chicago's South Side moved forward on Thursday despite plenty of opposition.

The proposal to merge the South Shore Golf Couse and the Jackson Park Course has been met with resistance from area residents, who say there are better ways to invest in the community.

"At the end of the day the idea is to improve the community, not negatively affect the community," said Martin Koldyke, a Chicago Park District board member.

During a meeting Wednesday, the park district board approved a $1.1 million feasibility study, which includes plans to convert both publicly owned courses into one 18-hole championship-level course, to be designed by Tiger Woods. Supporters said the project would help introduce more inner-city kids to the sport.

"Its different things about the game of gold that also governs life, shows you how to govern your life," said Dion Madkins of the Hit It Straight Golf Academy. "Golf can teach these children that."

Friends of the Parks, the group known for derailing the building of the George Lucas Museum, is against the merging of both courses.

"When you hold community input sessions at the last minute trying to create the impression of public participation after the park district and the mayor have been secretly putting a plan into place for a long time, you create mistrust," said Juanita Irizarry of Friends of the Parks.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the $30 million renovations project in December by creating the Chicago Park Golf Alliance, a not-for-profit spearheading the plan.

"He embraced this as the type of course he grew up on and felt he could make a difference in the game of golf," said Brian Hogan of the Chicago Park Golf Alliance.

Noami Davis, who lives near the courses, founded Blacks in Green, a neighborhood economic development group. She said there are better ways to invest in the community.

"We want to focus on a state of the art sports facility," Davis said.

Initial construction work could begin as soon as this spring, but only if there is public support.
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