Published January 18. 2013 4:00AM Updated January 18. 2013 10:37AM
In a note sent to The Sound, Branford resident Jacey Wyatt explained her reasons for addressing the Board of Selectmen last night with a proposal to put a public golf couse at the town-owned Tabor property, where 10 acres are being considered for a new Public Works Facility and other spaces are being earmarked for recreational playing fields and other passive recreation uses.
By installing the course, which she has dubbed "Indian Dunes," Wyatt said Branford has the opportunity to make a return of $2 million to $4 million a year. Additionally, Wyatt shared her reasons for placing Public Works at land at the current Town Transfer Station site. Supporting documents and the design Wyatt, a landscape architect, presented to the BOS can be found in PDFs to right of this story.
Wyatt wrote: "Why a public golf course? Because 1. The neighborhood deserves it. The neighborhood (has) been for years neglected, and they have spoken and said clearly, (with) growing support to stop Public Works at Tabor, they don't want Public Works there, and if a golf course is built, which they all do want, home prices will increase, tax revenue will increase in the area with a golf course on this site.
2. The site's questionable environment concern is solved by the golf course, as grass and golf courses don't complain about the soils below!
3. It can be an environmental friendly course with green technology and natural rain catch basins & pond irrigation
4. It will leave an open space in Branford for future generations; as it never should have been zoned industrial or even planned to have metal garage boxes similar to (what) Public Works needs, to be built on this site.
5. Indian Dunes will be the first public golf course in Branford and support tourism, travel, better town quality of life, promote health and wellness, and with the Amtrak railroad passing the site, will introduce the golf course to over 100,000 railroad riders that pass by and through that area everyday.
Wyatt continues in her note, "...since the town already owns the land, the cost of acquisition is not introduced in the costs and public golf courses and typical golf courses range from about $150,000 a hole, so for about $2.5 million, a professional 18 hole public golf course can be designed on the site and built in Branford. Another important feature is it will also create jobs in golf and recreation in Branford."
She goes on to note: "The master site includes: the Club House, which is also the Branford Senior Center; an indoor and outdoor community pool house, golf club and tennis and recreation center (Senior Center and Country Club with activities, gym, arts, cards rooms, horse shoe and bocci courts, tennis, swimming, meeting space and wedding rental and catering kitchen)."
Wyatt points out Branford Community Dining Room service can be moved to this new building, as well; and also envisions " ...facility offices, parks, trails, bike paths, golf cart sidewalks, and grounds sheds, public park, tennis courts, public outdoor pool, miles of walking trails, and the circle with gazebo on the sealed dump to the south is included in the new town park, for its bonus as the highest walking point in Branford. (The) parks history and viewpoint over the entire town, which is drawn on the Master Site Plan on top of the old dump site, which is common used as a solution for dumps today (example: City of Hartford's land fill site)."
Wyatt also explained the idea for the name of the proposed project, "Indian Dunes."
"Why Indian Dunes? Per our history, when William Swaine founded Branford in 1638 and built the settlement in 1644, under his rule a wood fence was built all around the center of the settlement. (In) agreement with our Native Indians...(they) were told that they were to stay in the part called Indian Neck; which we call it today -- and the site that is today Tabor was named Indian Dunes, which Indians used for lookouts to watch other Indian tribes, and to watch over the village and land they once owned which is now called Branford by the English settlers."
In closing, Wyatt explained, "...as I am a Landscape Architect, I recommend that the Tabor site with its natural pond, hills and views is a golf designers dream and this site has no other better proposal then a golf course. Just walk the site and instantly you will understand that there is no steel garage or box that will ever make sense on the property or blend or naturally combine with the open space and nature of the property.The design that I am proposing to you is a solution to the years of legal battles. (I) ask for your assistance to build a golf course at the Tabor site, my master plan solves the issues and can turn a dump into a new life and profitable town return on investment from its golf fees; with an average per year on 40,000 rounds of golf over 240 days a year, golf fee of $59 per round; the education and meeting space rentals, and more has estimates of about $4 million a year to the town and its taxpayers on the building of a golf course."
Wyatt invites any member of the public who'd like to receive a copy of the presentation packet distributed at the Jan. 17 BOS meeting to contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org">email@example.com