The Decatur Park District announced yesterday that Scovill Golf Course, located on Decatur’s west side will be closing at the end of October of this year. I don’t think anybody was shocked by the announcement because the closing had been discussed and postponed over the last couple of years. Some people are upset and most are very concerned with what will become of the land and buildings after its closure. Of course, I have ideas, as I’m sure others do as well.
First, I think it’s important for the park district to consider recreational activities that people today are most interested in that don’t cost a lot of money to provide. I think last year I wrote about activities that people all over the country are most interested in and the top activities included adventure trails, hiking, biking, disc golf, wildlife viewing, nature photography, and other activities that generally don’t cost people a lot of money or time to participate in. I think Scovill would be ideal for such outdoor adventure type activities. It’s located along a wildlife corridor in Decatur and Macon County and linking it to nearby Rock Springs Conservation Area, and the bike trail, would make a lot of sense from a conservation and recreational standpoint.
Below shows the flood zone area that encompasses part of the golf course and the above satellite view shows its proximity to Rock Springs and the Sangamon River, which is directly to the south of Scovill.
Of course, I am a conservationists, so I’m going to be pushing for conservation improvements to be incorporated into whatever is to become of the land. The golf course is in a beautiful natural setting with rolling hills, a large pond, and the Sangamon River to the south. Much of the infrastructure is already there for trails, such as bridges. I believe the banquet hall should remain open and available for rental. It’s a popular place for wedding receptions, special events, and meetings.
Most of all, I would like the public to decide what is to become of the land. I think there should be meetings, similar to the type that District 61 held when the options for high school renovations were brought before the public. The public was very instrumental in making those decisions. Options should be placed on a table for all to see and comment on. It shouldn’t be up to just the park commissioners. An involved public is going to be much more supportive of whatever decision is made, as long as they know that they truly influenced and shaped that decision. Also, the public can bring great ideas! Lastly and importantly, we’ll find out what recreational options people in Decatur truly want instead of guessing.
So I am imploring the Decatur Park District to open the discussion and planning to the public. It is in your best interest and it is in the best interest of the city. Let’s get this right.