Golf courses and farm fields are each beautiful in their own way. But overgrown lots certainly don’t please the eye or capture the imagination.
That’s what has become of the former Yule Golf Course on the south side of Alexandria along Indiana 9.
The course has been in limbo (and badly overgrown until a recent trimming) since its owner, Robert McCurdy, sold it for nearly $1 million to farmer Dale Rinker in late 2012. But the 156-acre property can’t be used for farm land because it’s not zoned for that purpose, a condition that the city’s Board of Zoning Appeals reaffirmed last July.
Rinker, wanting to put soybeans and corn on the land, has appealed the zoning decision to Madison Circuit Court 1, where the case still sits after a March hearing.
Meanwhile, folks who live on Fairway Drive, in a housing subdivision situated next to the golf course — er, farm ... er, overgrown lot — have grown increasingly disillusioned. They say vermin attracted to the uncultivated land are a nuisance and that property values are falling.
In a broader sense, the city of Alexandria has been harmed, as well. What used to be a nice little golf course — a real matter of pride for a small city — has become a source of consternation and an eyesore.
Golf courses, because they offer recreation and provide green space, can help generate economic development. Overgrown lots discourage new businesses and residents.
The current residents of Yule Estates are the biggest losers in this stalemate. They wait and wait and wait for a resolution. Though they don’t want to see the court decide in favor of Rinker’s farm, that in many respects would be better than a protracted legal battle that leaves the land unattended for years to come.
The judge of Madison Circuit Court 1, Angela Warner Sims, has a difficult case to consider and must move carefully. But time is also of the essence. No one wants to see the case still unresolved when next spring rolls around.
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