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Resident requests ordinance prohibiting golf in Farmington parks

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Resident requests ordinance prohibiting golf in Farmington parks
Farmington Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

Farmington resident Kevin Collins is tired of finding golf balls in his front yard. That's why he's asked the city of Farmington to reconsider an ordinance prohibiting golfers from practicing their swings in the city's parks.

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Collins lives across the street from the Dakota County Estates Park, where, he told the Farmington City Council in August, several golfers come to hit golf balls. The problem is, many of those balls are landing in his yard, and damaging his home.

This isn't the first time he's brought up his concerns. An ordinance to prohibit golfers from hitting balls in city parks came to the Farmington City Council in 2008, but failed on a 3-2 vote. Five years later, Collins went to the Aug. 19 city council meeting to once again ask for an ordinance to stop golfers from practicing in city parks.

"This has been going on since we moved in," Collins told the city council. "Year after year. We're really starting to get tired of it."

According to Collins, golfers come to the park to hit golf balls. In many cases, the errant balls have landed in his yard. Some have done damage to the siding on his house. Some have damaged his front windows.

"Each time this has happened, no one steps forward to take responsibility for the damage they have done," he said.

There have been instances, Collins said, where the golfers have even hit the balls in the direction of the playground, potentially causing harm to the children and families at play.

The Farmington City Council asked parks and recreation director Randy Distad and the Farmington Parks and Recreation Commission for discussion. PARC members will be asked to consider whether they would like to write another ordinance prohibiting golf in parks, revise the ordinance that was drafted in 2008, or not pursue any kind of regulations against hitting balls in the parks.

"Obviously, this type of use in city parks needs to be weighed from a safety and property damage standpoint, versus an allowed leisure activity in a park," Distad said.

Distad plans to bring the topic to the PARC meeting in October. If PARC members indicate they would like to revisit the idea of an ordinance to prohibit golfing in city parks, he will write the appropriate language for that ordinance.

"I'll support whatever direction the park and rec commission and the city council go with this," Distad said.

Neighboring communities including Lakeville, Apple Valley, Rosemount and Inver Grove Heights all have ordinances that restrict golfing in city parks, he added.

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Michelle Leonard
Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and is the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 
(651) 702-0974
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