As Kane County Forest Preserve District commissioners inch toward a funding agreement for enhancements at Settler's Hill Golf Course in Geneva, the biggest fan of those pending changes spoke about the need for them Friday.
Commissioner Mark Davoust said it's important for taxpayers to remember the push for a more profitable golf course predates any plans for a cross country track, observation tower or hotel by many years. Indeed commissioners Friday viewed a news article from 1987 that details possible improvements to the 700-acre Fabyan Parkway campus, including the golf course, once the landfill closed.
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"We had already been working for ages on convincing people you have an asset here in the golf course you need to maintain," Davoust said. "In golfing parlance, you don't have returning nines; you don't have your clubhouse in quite the right place to host events, and you don't have a driving range."
A plan that might spend at least $4.25 million to add a driving range, six new holes, practice greens and revamp the layout is on the verge of receiving about $800,000 of funding. The money would come from a fund where the profits of the old landfill are kept. The cash can only be spent on maintenance or redevelopment of the landfill site. Accessing the money shouldn't be a problem for forest preserve district commissioners because they also serve as county board members.
Davoust said at first he was nervous the attention all the redevelopment ideas for the site received might derail the golf course improvements.
"That plan brought up some other issues with the land, but it ended up turning into a collaborative kind of thing for both projects."
Davoust said a driving range at the course will almost surely be a big draw. In fact, the course had such a range once upon a time before a parking lot expansion became a more important amenity.
"That range always made money," Davoust said. "Once we get these improvements the functions you can program at the course will be expanded tremendously. We would benefit from more use of the course. The thing about golfers is they don't stop in to give you constructive criticism about your course. They just don't come back. Then you're just sitting there saying, 'What happened? Where did everybody go?' If we're going to have a course out there, let's do it right."