Proposed Plans for Duluth Golf Courses Pass to City Council

Plans propose scaling back and developing Lester Park Golf Course.

DULUTH, Minn.- Duluth Public Golf Courses are now $2.4 million in debt.

The city’s recommendations, which the Parks and Recreation Commission passed with a 6-2 vote on Wednesday, would scale back the 27 holes at Lester Park Golf Course to 18 to make way for housing.

Plans would also improve the infrastructure at Enger Park Golf Course.

Among the proposed changes include expanding Lester Park by about 400 acres and Enger Park by about 20 acres to protect greenspace that surrounds the golf courses.

“Some may argue that regardless of the facts we must never sell an area of park space because once dedicated by council, every park, every acre of every park, is forever sacred,” said Director of Public Administration, Jim Filby-Williams.

“But that characterization, should you hear it, will lack important nuance.”

It is proposed that the 50-acre lower portion of Lester Park be developed for multifamily housing, and about 10 acres of Enger Park be sold for multifamily development.

Then, 450 acres of unprotected tax-forfeit land adjacent to Lester Park is proposed to be purchased, formally designated parkland and only sold by an 8-1 vote of City Council.

“I’m a golfer, the first hole of the Lakes 9 is one of my favorite holes,” said Parks and Rec Commissioner, David Demmer.

“Also at the same time, pleased to see that we’re gonna be securing those 450 acres of tax-forfeited land.”

The proposal states that the original 18 holes at Lester Park continue to operate through the 2022 season to see how financially stable the operation is by then.

Also, to enhance the financial stability of Duluth Golf, the proposal states waving one half of the $2.5 million Golf Fund Debt to the General Fund i.

The remaining $1.25 million debt would be paid down at $50,000 a year over 25 years.

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