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Reader's View: Keep parks as parks

Discussions surrounding the futures of the Lester and Enger Park golf courses present a great opportunity to reassess how both Duluthians and visitors would best utilize city park land. I am neither pro-golf nor anti-golf, and I do think today pr...

Discussions surrounding the futures of the Lester and Enger Park golf courses present a great opportunity to reassess how both Duluthians and visitors would best utilize city park land. I am neither pro-golf nor anti-golf, and I do think today presents a good opportunity to reconsider how park land is used in order to adjust to evolving outdoor and recreation needs (" Developer eyes Lester Park Golf Course ," Jan. 23).

Is it reasonable to ask the city to subsidize affordable golf (just as the city subsidizes users of the Lakewalk, picnickers, historic-ship visitors and others)? Sure.

Is it reasonable to consider using some of the golf course land and resources for other activities (like mountain biking, open space, nature trails, a city orchard, etc)? Absolutely.

These are reasonable perspectives, and I believe having these discussions ultimately will lead to an even more vibrant Duluth with great parks and destination-worthy open space.

But, amid these discussions, we should always require that any parks stay as parks. This land is set aside to enhance the quality of life for Duluthians and visitors. Park land is public, shared, and available to all (even if at a modest fee, as for the golf courses). This land should not be taken from the public and sold to developers. To do so is public theft for the benefit of a private few.

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So, should we keep every tee and green open on both golf courses? Or should we turn some into grass-covered parks with public apple orchards and gardens? Or perhaps we should create more open space with nature trails and programs for kids. Maybe there are great and new ideas just waiting to be pitched. Let's talk about it.

And let's always remember that once our public land is parceled up, sold, paved over, and built upon, it's gone for good.

Nathaniel Bushek

Duluth

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