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Denver tees off planning process for Kennedy Golf Course overhaul

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Denver tees off planning process for Kennedy Golf Course overhaul

Denver is asking not what Kennedy Golf Course can do for the city, but what the city can do for the golf course.

A master plan is being developed to redesign the golf course so that all of its segments would be comparable to one another, and to consider a new clubhouse and other features.

Kennedy is the largest of Denver’s seven golf courses. It has 27 holes of regulation golf between three nine-hole sections. The first two nines, named Babe Lind and West, were constructed in 1963, and the Creek nine was completed in 1994.

There is also a par-three course on the golf campus that doubles with foot golf, and two putt-putt courses are adjacent to the clubhouse. The campus features a large driving range with a practice putting green, but the short-game practice area has been decommissioned for now.

Richard Mandell, a golf architect tapped to lead the city’s overhaul of the course, is looking to reshape it for the foreseeable future. Kennedy was constructed when drivers were still made of wood and technology didn’t help players hit 350-yard drives.

Provided by the City of Denver

Richard Mandell is the golf architect leading the city’s overhaul of the Kennedy Golf Course.

Despite having some of the most challenging holes of Denver courses, Kennedy is showing its age. For example, tee boxes are typically designed to vary in length depending on a golfer’s skill. But Kennedy’s are close to one another.

“We plan on renovating all three nines of the golf course, and one of the goals that we discussed was (to make) all equal nines, so that it’s not always going to be the Creek and Babe nine and the West is for overflow,” Mandell said.

Scott Rethlake, the city’s director of golf, said creating continuity throughout the three courses is a big focus.

“You can tell that things were developed and constructed at different times. This is an effort to make it more consistent,” Rethlake said, adding the course will be redesigned “so that anyone would want to play those three nines.”

The projects would be phased over five to 10 years. Denver is still taking input from people to determine what will go into the master plan before it is sent to the City Council for consideration. The cost of the renovations has not been determined.

The West nine is considered the easiest of the three (depending on who you ask), and the Babe Lind nine is its more difficult sibling. Creek is a bit shorter than the three, but it is narrow and demands accurate shots.

“Because of budget constraints, we can’t build everything at the same time. But we can design everything at the same time,” Mandell said.

The clubhouse at Kennedy Golf Course

Provided by the City of Denver

The clubhouse at Kennedy Golf Course could be renovated or replaced as part of an upcoming master plan.

Some of the other changes Mandell mentioned would be putting bunkers in the middle of the fairways instead of off to the sides, making players strategize more than “grip it and rip it.”

Some of the master plan’s goals include updating the course’s infrastructure, making the course more environmentally efficient and improving safety by separating holes farther apart.

Mandell said the renovations are necessary because golf courses have a lifespan of about 30 years before they need at least soil replacement and other upgrades because of drainage issues.

“We’re not completely, in any case, ripping the whole place up. That’s not part of our plan,” Mandell said. “But what we are thinking is how to best utilize the features. On the Creek nine, I’m thinking how we could best use Cherry Creek. We’re not disturbing Cherry Creek, but maybe shifting things for Cherry Creek.”

The course would never be completely shut down, Mandell said, adding at least 18 holes will be playable while one of the nines is reconfigured.

Councilwoman Kendra Black, who represents the southeast corner of Denver, said she may not be a golfer, but she is eager to see certain features of Kennedy overhauled.

“I really want a new club house, more like the one at City Park, and a refreshing of the putt-putt,” Black told BusinessDen. “For years, community members have been advocating for these improvements. The course itself has a lot of great features but is very old. Many features are from 1963.”

The next meeting for the golf course master plan will take place 5-7 p.m. Oct. 27 at Hebrew Educational Alliance, 3600 S. Ivanhoe St.

One of the largest renovations of Denver golf courses was completed in 2019 at City Park near the Denver Zoo. That $45 million project completely redesigned the golf course and constructed a new 11,000-square-foot clubhouse, about 15 years after the city had constructed a clubhouse at the corner of 26th Avenue and York Street.

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Stillwater residents upset with towing company’s plan to remove 97 trees

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Stillwater residents upset with towing company’s plan to remove 97 trees

When a Stillwater towing company announced earlier this year that it planned to cut down 181 trees at a proposed new location, residents of the Forest Hills neighborhood cried foul.

But Stillwater Towing officials announced Friday that they were changing their plans at 1749 Greeley St. in light of the neighbors’ concerns. Under the new proposal, 97 trees would be removed from the 5 acres of land, which is zoned business park/industrial, to build a new impound lot.

The tree removal is necessary to create a relatively flat surface for vehicle storage, according to the company’s variance application.

Under city code, Stillwater Towing can remove up to 35 percent of the 265 significant trees on the site — 93 trees in all — without replacing them, city planner Abbi Wittman said.

Stillwater Towing hopes to avoid removing the other four trees, but is prepared to replace them if necessary, Cameron Kelly, the company’s attorney, said. If they can keep those trees, they won’t have to obtain a variance to the city’s tree-replacement requirements.

“The goal is to take as few trees as possible,” Kelly said.

Gloria Hatchel was shocked when she heard that 181 of the trees on the other side of her backyard might be cut down. Hatchel, who lives on Rainbow Court, said the wooded area and nearby wetlands are a habitat for wildlife and birds, including foxes, coyotes, deer, turkeys and cardinals.

Although the company’s proposal has changed, she said Friday that she still objects.

“I don’t want them to even touch the property,” she said. “It’s a sanctuary back there with all these trees and the pond. It’s beautiful, and they want to build a parking lot in the middle of it.”

Stillwater Towing, she said, should look elsewhere.

But Stillwater Towing officials say the company, founded in 1975, must be in a central location in the city to handle its calls. The company employs 25 full-time and five part-time employees.

Owner Rick Ritzer, who took over the family business from his father in 1980, began looking to expand 15 years ago, Kelly said. “They were starting to outgrow their lot, but they wanted to stay in the area,” he said. “It’s centrally located, which is key for their business.”

The new location is the former site of Croix Oil and Olson Transport, Kelly said. “This lot has handled commercial trucks since 1940,” he said. “It’s a much safer location from a traffic perspective, proximity to stoplights, etc.”

Washington County owns a strip of land between Stillwater Towing’s property and the neighbors, Kelly said, and there is about 300 feet of land between the back of the proposed impound lot and the nearest house. The land “is pretty heavily wooded, and it’s down a large slope,” he said. “The impound lot is higher. It’s a long way away, and the houses are a lot lower.”

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Gophers flip Wisconsin offensive lineman from North Dakota State commitment

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Gophers flip Wisconsin offensive lineman from North Dakota State commitment

The Gophers football program picked up a commitment Sunday from Ashton Beers, an offensive lineman from Slinger, Wis.

Beers, who is listed at 6-foot-6 and 296 pounds, flipped his pledge from North Dakota State. The three-star recruit had offers from Central Michigan, Buffalo, Toledo and others.

“I would like to thank (coaches and staff) for giving me the opportunity to play at NDSU,” Beers tweeted. “However, after being offered a scholarship, I have decided to commit to The University of Minnesota.”

Beers is the 16th commitment in the U’s class for 2022 and the first from the state of Wisconsin. Beers was named second-team all-state by the Associated Press and was on the Wisconsin Football Coaches Association’s large-school all-state team.

The NCAA early-signing period opens Dec. 15.

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After nearly two months, still no sign of missing Hillsdale man

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After nearly two months, still no sign of missing Hillsdale man

HILLSDALE, Mo. – The last time Shemika McGee saw her son, Jarius McGee, was in early September in Hillsdale.

After nearly two months, Jarius is still missing, and Shemika hasn’t heard anything from him.

“I think that he got a phone call, and with the phone call, it just led to something else which led to him missing and I just want him back at home,” she said.

McGee said her son would come and go like many young adults and wasn’t in any trouble that she knew of.

When he left, she said he didn’t have the usual things he would carry like his wallet or headphones.

“We really don’t have anything to go off other than the fact that he’s missing,” McGee said.

Hillsdale Chief of Police John Bernsen said an investigation is ongoing and the department is waiting on Jarius’ phone records.

“Every time we try to chase down a lead it’s always a dead end so that’s why we’re trying to put out the word out so much. We know somebody has seen him. Somebody knows something,” Chief Bernsen said.

Looking for an Angel President Theda Person heard about Jarius missing through social media. Now her non-profit organization has joined the search.

“I’ve created a flyer I’ve contacted Missouri State Highway Patrol to make sure that a flyer was created because law enforcement didn’t really do that,” Person said.

Person believes more can be done in the search is prepared to help McGee as needed.

“1f we say that we care about those that we are serving then we should be more intentional,” she said.

She said with McGee missing this long, he could be anywhere. When asked if he were another race would there be a more thorough investigation, Person thinks so.

“Definitely we can see with the Gabby Petito case and other cases,” Person said.

McGee just wants to know where her son is.

“I mean anything that you can think of goes through my mind,” she said. “Where’s he at, who could he be with? There’s a lot of things going through my mind.”

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