The City of Fitchburg plans to ask a Dane County Circuit Court judge in the coming weeks to let it build a lighted bike/pedestrian pathway along the edge of Nine Springs Golf Course.
The land has a deed restriction that prevents lights there, but the city’s plan would include a bridge and complementary safety lighting.
Nine Springs Golf Course was gifted to the city in 1986 by Golf Creek Limited Partnership and Knutson Investment Company, both of Minnesota. As part of the gift, the deed required the property to be solely be operated as either a golf course or park, with no lights placed on the property other than near the pond and no sports or activities permitted other than ice skating or cross country skiing.
With the path ostensibly in the spirit of the original restrictions, city leaders are hoping for the restriction to be lifted. Normally, that would mean approaching the entity that gifted the deed, but both Golf Creek Limited Partnership and Knutson Investment Company ceased to exist within two years of the donation, according to the Minneapolis Department of State.
That means the city would need to go to court so a judge can adjust the language of the deed, city attorney Valerie Zisman told the Common Council at its Tuesday, Nov. 26, meeting.
“We’re not asking the court to remove the restriction, rather, to just open it up to allow other complementary uses of that land,” she said.
The Council unanimously authorized Zisman to move forward with the circuit court action.
The construction of the bike/pedestrian path is a part of the Fish Hatchery Road rebuild set to start next year. The path would not interfere with the operation of the golf course, Zisman told alders.
City administrator Patrick Marsh said if the bridge for the path isn’t put in, the city would instead need to put in a culvert extension in under it, which he termed a “very expensive” project.
“That’s the reason we’re going with a bridge,” he said. “It’ll be a nice aesthetic appeal to the golf course, which will be nice, too.”