Home Opinion: Golf is not the best use of city resources

Opinion: Golf is not the best use of city resources

At the last City Council meeting meeting, the council voted not to sign a 5-year lease on gas-powered golf carts because running gas-powered vehicles goes against the city’s plan to go carbon-neutral by 2030. At tonight’s meeting, they are reconsidering this decision and will probably choose to lease the golf carts.

I have opinions about this, which I wrote to them in a letter, which I will re-print below. If you want to write them a similar letter, you can email CityCouncil@a2gov.org.

If you want to call them before tonight’s meeting (or after), find your councilmembers’ contact info here.

Now, here is what I wrote to them:

It's looking like we are going to have to take the contract for gas powered golf carts after all.

There was some discussion in the staff memo that was linked to in Erica Briggs's newsletter about the vast amounts of money that would be required to upgrade to electric golf carts, and the staff suggested that this wasn't the best, highest use of that kind of money.

I think this is an excellent opportunity to think about if golf is the best, highest use of all that land!

If there's something to learn from this episode, it is that it is contrary to our values and goals to continue to operate both of these golf courses.

I'm sure I don't have to remind you that we have a housing crisis and a climate crisis. And in the midst of that, we are operating two golf courses in an environmentally-unsustainable manner. Perhaps it would make sense to find a use for one of those golf courses that provides larger benefits to a larger swathe of the community.

I would recommend building a subsidized housing development on some of it, operated by the Ann Arbor Housing Commission in partnership with Avalon Housing.

I would recommend partnering with a private developer on some of it to provide market-rate developments that have minimal parking and provide some retail space.

I would recommend that there be pedestrian cut-throughs and some other type of park-land on the rest. I recommend asking the market-rate developer to contribute significantly to the development of this park-land into something that provides good opportunities for programming.

We may find that it would be useful to put a solar farm on some of this land as well.

It's good that we had this opportunity to rethink our priorities for this land, and I hope we think hard about it.

This post is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 by the author.