Once Around the City: TDRS tees it up; state trees it up; getting the brown out

NORWALK, Conn. — Just ahead of Thursday night’s public hearing on the Oak Hills Park Authority’s master plan for the golf course and environs, Total Driving Range Solutions front man Jim Downing sent out a press release touting an article recognizing a quartet of golf course designs by one of the company’s partners.

TDRS is the company chosen by Oak Hills Park Authority to draw up the park’s master plan.

The 2014 Golfweek Magazine Best Courses You Can Play list included these Doug Smith-designed layouts:

  • Links of North Dakota — #1 in North Dakota (5 ranked)
  • The Architects Golf Club — #5 in New Jersey (10 ranked)
  • Scotland Run Golf Club — #9 in New Jersey (10 ranked)
  • The Links at Unionvale — #15 in New York (15 ranked)

In addition to these courses, Smith is responsible for, in collaboration with Stephen Kay, more than 200 golf course original designs and re-designs, according to the press release. He is a member of the American Society of Golf Course Architects (ASGCA).

At TDRS, Smith is responsible for design and construction of practice areas and landing areas that simulate the actual golf course experience, incorporating greens complexes, target landing zones and replica fairways depending on the specific job requirements, the release states.

The release quoted Smith: “My vision is to build facilities that fit with and address today’s realities…less time available for complete rounds of golf, difficulty of the game and less disposable income…by recreating the golf experience in a driving range format so that our facilities become a destination for all levels of golfers plus families and groups. We are clearly in a transition phase in our game and anything we can do to keep people involved in the game will benefit us all down the road.”


Keeping trees safe: Lawmakers set guidelines for trimmers

The General Assembly has passed legislation that will establish new guidelines for the trimming of trees and shrubs around utility poles and wires, according to a press release from state Sen. Bob Duff’s (D-Norwalk) office.

“Connecticut is one of the most heavily wooded states in the nation, and our trees make this state a truly beautiful place to live” Duff said in the release. “Yet we must care for our trees, particularly those planted near utility lines, as falling limbs can cause power outages and prove dangerous during a storm. This bill aims to strike a balance between trimming trees back to keep the lights on, and minimizing damage to the aesthetics of our communities and the trees themselves.”

In recent years, Connecticut has been struck by massive storms that left tens of thousands of people without power for days. Many of these outages were cause by falling trees or limbs, and efforts to prune vegetation near utility lines were increased. The bipartisan bill makes several changes to the process utility companies (including telephone, telecommunications, and electric distribution companies) must follow before pruning or removing any trees or shrubs around their poles and wires, the release said. The bill:

  • directs utilities to obtain written affirmative consent from a private property owner before trimming a tree
  • expands the information a utility must include in its notice to a property owner of intent to trim a tree
  • requires that tree trimming be conducted to retain the pruned vegetation’s structural integrity and health
  • places the burden of proof on a utility if an abutting property owner objects to its proposed tree trimming
  • standardizes and streamlines procedures for objecting to proposed tree trimming

No word yet on whether Gov. Dannel Malloy intends to sign the bill.


Those brown, brownfields back home

State Rep. Chris Perone (D-137), reminds property owners that applications for the Department of Economic and Community Development’s (DECD) new round of funding for remediation of brownfield sites are due by Jane 30.

A pool of $20 million is available.

“Bringing these brownfield and contaminated sites back online is an important investment by the state,” said Perone in a press release. “We know that towns and individual businesses can’t pay for the total clean-up on their own, and this funding will help to alleviate some of these costs. I strongly encourage Norwalk residents and businesses to apply for this funding. I thank the Governor and DECD for recognizing the need for cleaning up these sites.”

The rating and ranking sheet for this funding round, which provides further details on application criteria, as well as the program application, is available at ctbrownfields.gov. Applications must be submitted to DECD, 505 Hudson Street, Hartford, CT 06106-7106 no later than Monday, June 30, 2014. Questions related to the application must be submitted to [email protected] by June 9, 2014; responses will be posted at ctbrownfields.gov by June 16.


Before the parade passes by….

The exit 16 ramps to East Avenue from Interstate 95 will be closed from 10 a.m. to approximately 12:30 p.m. during Monday’s Memorial Day Parade. The closures are being made to allow the parade to safely pass. All other I-95 and Merritt Parkway exit ramps within the city will remain open.


4 responses to “Once Around the City: TDRS tees it up; state trees it up; getting the brown out”

  1. Debora

    Why should credentials designing a golf course course matter for building a driving range?

    1. Mark Chapman


      I believe this was the TDRS response to all those who said that TDRS is a new company and therefore has no experience in designing and building a driving range.

  2. Suzanne

    Mr. Smith was an assistant to Stephan Kay, a renowned golf course designer (as mentioned in both Links magazine and GolfNow) and came into his own as an independent designer and golf course architect after working with Mr. Kay for many years. All of the golf courses mentioned above have a driving range. He seems to have the correct take on golfing: it is a sport in transition with golfers having less time to play it. His take on it, however, is not to shorten an 18 hole course but to make the experience at Oak Hills better. I still don’t agree with the financing end of it but, after a little research, do appreciate Doug Smith’s experience. (I have studied, in depth, “The Architect’s Course” as part my course work and I admire greatly the natural context and design aesthetic of the Links of North Dakota.) If Oak Hills can pay for it independently, then I say go for it. If it is on the City’s dime, no. I don’t understand why the OHPA isn’t looking toward fundraisers or something like them instead of regarding the City of Norwalk as their deep pocket.

  3. Suzanne

    On trees: the Lewis Company’s trucks seem to be everywhere. The arborists’ efforts, less than stellar. Somehow, based on CL&P’s guidelines, they have left long stubs (instead of trimming to the branch collar) and long trunks and cut trees so primitively, the balance of what is left are likely to fall on lines anyway. Taking off one side of a plant does not stabilize but does the opposite. In addition, doing just the line side leaves all of the tall trees on the opposite side of the street an opportunity to fall on the lines anyway. In other words, these trimming efforts are ruining a lot of trees and not really solving the problem. I wish CL&P could see the wisdom of a twenty-five or twenty year project that slowly, by region, gets the lines under the ground. If it can be done in entire countries in Europe, it can be done in the State of Connecticut. (Perhaps instead of the ill-founded commuter bus corridor being created at great cost to the State?)

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