- Associated Press - Sunday, January 1, 2017

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) - Ray Richards Golf Course looks like it does every year at this time - snowy. But for the first time in 47-years, it won’t be opening in the spring, and some community members aren’t happy about it.

“I think there’s a lot of disappointment. A lot of good memories, and people feel like it’s a shame that that green space is going away,” said Brian Leach, an employee at the Golf Center store in Grand Forks.

That’s why golfers are putting up a fight despite the University of North Dakota’s decision to close the nine-hole, par 36 course because of budget cuts, WDAZ-TV reported (https://bit.ly/2imhdVB).

Petitions are being signed at businesses across Grand Forks, and Leach is encouraged by each signature.

“We’ve had a couple hundred people come in just to sign the petition,” he said.

Dean Kirkeby, one of the petition’s creators, said he’s fighting to save one of the things that helps senior citizens like him stay active and healthy.

“The contribution to longevity in life is recreation, and this is the ideal place to be if you want to play a sport and stay active,” Kirkeby said.

Kirkeby said this course is part of the city’s history. It’s named for the late Ray Richards, a Tulsa, Oklahoma, engineer and 1906 UND alum who donated the land to UND, according to the course’s website.

“I guess I’m just beside myself that they would make such a decision to close this golf course,” Kirkeby said. “The legacy and integrity that Ray Richards left this city is tremendous and it should stay intact.”

A UND spokesperson said the school respects the efforts but it’s unlikely that the decision will change.


Information from: WDAZ-TV, https://wdaz.com

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