Sticks and stones litter Oak Hills petition

NORWALK, Conn. – More than 1,600 people have signed an online petition asking that the golf course at Oak Hills Park remain an 18-hole course, including three Common Council members. Comments run the gamut, from people reminiscing about times gone by to people calling those advocating a 9-hole course idiots. Some say Oak Hill would lose their business if it was reduced to 9 holes. Other remark on the improved conditions at the course.

Some samples:

• “Keep Oak Hills 18 holes. Go walk your dogs at dogdoo park at Calf Pasture. You want to change something for the better, Decontaminate that fecal park and make it so Humans can enjoy it. And lets put a driving range there, that will be run by the Oak Hills authority.” – Wayne Soper, Norwalk

• “If it goes to 9 holes, that pretty much says ‘see you later’! – David Adams, Fairfield

The petition was signed by Council members Glenn Iannacone (R-At Large), Richard Bonenfant (R-At Large) and Travis Simms (D-District B). It was also signed by OHPA member Elsa Peterson, a member of the Friends of Oak Hills Park, and OHPA leaders Clyde Mount and Ernie Desrochers. Other politicos signed up include Peter Torrano, Joe Kendy, Fred Wilms and Art Scialabba.


Some examples of comments:

• “We don’t have a public course in Wilton, so I frequently play at Oak Hills. A town is judged by its assets. Wilton suffers from not having a fine asset such as Oak Hills. As a town, we would kill to have to have a high quality 18-hole course we could call our own. To cut the course from 18 holes to 9 is tantamount to cutting off one leg of a runner and saying “Hey, he/she can still get around!” Norwalk would be the laughing stock of Fairfield County.” – John Klein, Wilton

• “It’s ridicules to take a public golf course and reduce it to half its size to which so many enjoy. What’s next tear down city hall to half its size? #&%*^” – John Gavriillidis, Norwalk

• “Mama don’t take my Kodachrome away. They give us the best greens in fairfield county. Oakhill makes you think all the words a sunny day. 18 hole please!!” – Edward Materiale, Norwalk

• “New Canaan is the only surrounding town without a public golf course. Why not make a deal with New Canaan to incorporate both towns as owners and residents sharing the membership and expenses.” – William Brewster, New Canaan

• “Easier to replace our Mayor than our golf course.” – Gilza Castilho Smith, Norwalk

• “A city the size of Norwalk needs to have this type of amenity along with first class schools, other parks, open space and waterfront access, to provide residents and prospective residents a full and diverse spectrum of amenities to sustain our demographic attraction.”  – William Andriopoulos, Norwalk

• “I can’t believe anyone would have the temerity to even suggest removing 9 holes. That’s like deciding to knock down half the houses in Norwalk …” – Jim Glowienka, Norwalk

• “If you are really forced to reduce the number of holes, please remove the ones I can never par. Seriously, this is a bad idea. I favor keeping Oak Hills an 18-hole course.” – Tom Brown, South Norwalk

• “Eighteen holes makes a golf course, nine holes makes an amusement park.” – John Lombardo, Norwalk

• “Although I live in Cos Cob I purchased a non-resident card at Oak Hills and consider it my home course versus the Griff Harris in Greenwich because Oak Hills is a far better conditioned course and more enjoyable to play. Turning into a 9-hole course would be terrible and I would no longer play Oak Hills. Keep Oak Hills the 18-hole course it is and keep making it better as you’ve done over the past several years and more players like myself will flock to Oak Hills.” – Chris Hoffman, Cos Cob

• “My wife and I have been norwalk taxpayers since 1991. If Oak Hills Golf Course is reduced or lost, the number of reasons for us to remain norwalk residents is greatly reduced.” – Warren K Costikyan, Norwalk

•  “I Have Three Small Children who’s father plays golf there and who’s grandfather played there please don’t take away there possible futures and legacies of what should be there for my kids.. you cant measure the importance of this 18 hole course with money its Norwalk’s legacy.. we have had pro golfers who got there start here at the oaks what’s to become of our future golf pros left on protected with out words of there own yet!!!!!!! go play some where else kid…” – Deinse Ek, Norwalk


A theme: the course is greatly improved

• “Oak Hills has done wonders over the last two years to improve its facility and upgrade its service to its members. It’d be an injustice to take the progress they’ve made and chop the course in half.” – Ralph Filardo, Norwalk

• “9 holes is a joke! Clearly these people do not play golf. Since the change in management, this course is getting better every day. I use to live in Notwalk for 6 years. I came back this past Oct and the place was in the best shape I have ever seen it. 18 stays!” – Adam Beaudin, Avon

• “This is nuts. Hired the best professional and superintendent staff Oak hills has ever seen. Greens in the best shape they’ve been. Oh, and 9 holes means you are no longer a venue for outings.” – David Gorrie, Norwalk

• “Oak Hills as a 18 hole golf course is a major asset to the town and helps to attract residents. The improvements that have been made in just the past two years are amazing and have made the Oak Hills Golf Course one of the most desirable public courses to play in Fairfield County. Norwalk needs more public amenities not less. It would be a big mistake to turn the course into a 9 hole course because as others have said the game of golf is suppose to be played on an 18 hole course.” – Lucille Paolantonio, Norwalk


Thoughts on the master plan

• “An 18 hole municipal golf course is a valued city asset, and Oak Hills is a fine specimen. Please keep it that way. Demonstrating a history of stabilized finances and a predictable revenue stream would be prudent before embarking on aggressive expansion plans, and could help generate wider support for major investments in the park. Positive things appear to be happening now, but a $4+ million undertaking seems premature at this time. Many thanks to all those who are working hard to make this a success.” – MJ Silinsky, Norwalk

• “To shorten Oak Hills to 9 holes is to kill the course altogether – I would never play there! I overwhelmingly support maintaining the 18 hole course and spending more to improve both the 18 hole golf course, as well as the practice areas and and 19th hole dining experience, which should be more tailored to golfers and families seeking a place to have a drink, watch some sports, and eat bar food. Forget the linen napkins – give me what most other golf courses offer as a 19th hole!” – James Bradford, Norwalk


• “Oak Hills not only makes Norwalk more attractive to people wanting to settle in an affordable part of Connecticut, it also attracts the ‘non-country club’ crowd from around neighboring towns and brings their business to our town. It is one of the few affordable, beautiful courses open to all. There are many areas around Norwalk for dog walkers and park enthusiasts: Cranbury, Calf Pasture, Seaview, Mathews, Flax Hill, Springwood. A quality public golf course sets a town apart. It provides a place for families to enjoy a sport together. It provides business people an opportunity to entertain clients. And it preserves beauty from the developers bulldozers. Oak Hills should stay 18 Holes, and it should follow-thru with the driving range expansion which any PGA professional will tell you is the true money-maker of a public course.” – Tom Goosmann, Norwalk 

• “Want the course. Not too sure about spending 4+ million on expanding it.??” – Roy Thompson, Rowayton


Calling the 9-holers names

• “Who are the idiots who want to change this jewel of a resource to 9 holes?!! I want names!” – Brett Thornton, Norwalk

• “These people must not have brains. Not only does Oak Hills need the 18 holes but needs a driving range and other amenities to increase revenue and make Oaks Hills another source of income to the Park and to the City of Norwalk. It is obvious to me that the people that use Oak Hills vote and have more votes then the people who are ridiculously trying to use this as a wedge and deterrent to keep the driving range from opening.” – Tony Coppola, Norwalk

• “What idiot proposed this?”  – Bruce Appleton, Norwalk

• “9 holes will destroy the course, and no golfers would show up to play it. What a completley stupid idea to ruin a great asset. Who are these people the tree huggers? Tell them to get some common sense.” – Edwin R. Whitin , Norwalk

• “9 holes is NOT golf. Only a non-golfing numbskull would come up with this solution” – Michael McGivney, Norwalk

Some more insults

• “Give us all a break….Why not arrange to clean up Norwalk……ALL by yourself….THAT should keep you busy!!!!!!” – Jacqueline Heinrich , Norwalk

• “The misguided minority vision of Oak Hills is tantamount to calling it The People’s Park, even though their suggested transformation could turn into a financial, political, and logistical quagmire and attract fewer users. Cantor, et al continue to make erroneous statements and generalizations about golf and surrounding public courses. They also underestimate the potential to turn Oak Hills G.C. into something that draws avid golfers throughout the metropolitan area. The master plan may be flawed, but summary judgment at this stage would be totally inappropriate. Give turnaround efforts a chance.” – Steve Govoni, Norwalk


5 responses to “Sticks and stones litter Oak Hills petition”

  1. Joe Optimistic

    If all is so great and wonderful at OH and the golf course is in such great shape why the need to improve at all? Or is the OHPA spending more then they have to make the golf course look good and they will not be able to pay the debt to the taxpayers?

    I know I spend an awful lot on my lawn at home to make it look nice, making 100+ acres look good much be a fortune.

  2. Joe Espo

    Nancy runs three negative stories in a row on Oak Hills but plans to hold her fund-raiser there? The irony escapes me.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Joe Espo

      The fundraiser is in the restaurant, an independent operation. It is not on the golf course. The three stories are news stories, not negative stories. They are reports on what is going on with the meeting, the petition and the public response. The petition excerpts are overwhelmingly supportive to the 18-hole course and dismissive of the 9-hole idea, which, as we reported, seems to be an idea with no support among the city’s shakers and movers. And this is negative?

  3. Beth Altman

    My understanding and that of many others was Oak Hills needed a range to improve the course conditions. Reading the responses many feel Oak Hills is the best conditioned course in the area. Why the push for a range if Oak Hills is in such great shape? are they spending $$$ they don’t have? Winter is coming and 70k does not seem like a lot on a budget of almost 2 million. Saving for a rainy day seems not to be a concern for this authority

  4. Suzanne

    While not a fan of nine holes, I find the invective in the above comments like reading the hecklers in writing from the OHPA meetings. Insult seems to be necessary, somehow, to get the point across for most of the comments. Is this the norm for Norwalk golfers?

    There is the mistaken idea that Oak Hills can be turned into development here and in other articles. The way Oak Hills was established would not allow the development of condos, homes, apartments, etc. No need to be misleading.

    The increase in revenues that everyone is counting on with the driving range belies the fact that necessary financial information as to the development of it and other features of the master plan has not been provided. Four point five million would have to be justified completely for any capital improvement project in the City.

    I love it when individuals use “treehuggers” as an insult as though that were a bad thing!

    All these signers and/or golfers overwhelmingly praising the Course and vouching for its value as an asset to Norwalk and, yet, the OHPA has not been making enough through rounds on a consistent basis to meet the charter requirements for its existence. There is an overall sense as well of entitlement that is unfortunate – no one owes anyone a golf course unless a golfer joins a private club for that purpose.

    The petition states it wants to provide a “superior experience to all park users.” I get why this would be objectionable: the only “park users” are golfers so that “superior experience” is for golfers only when they represent far fewer people than non-golfers in Norwalk.

    I agree with the comment above: let the Course prove it can operate to Charter for a few years, let testing be done to see how pesticide and fertilizer pollution, if any, can be remediated (I still vote for Audubon Certification – why isn’t anyone on the OHPA looking into this?) Then, and only then, should any aspect of the Master Plan be considered.

    I play golf, I love golf, I love golf courses. But, I am also a taxpayer and fiscal responsibility must be shown first, as the Course exists, before any other benefit be extended by the City to Oak Hills.

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