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City faces a tough shot on Mini-Golf

At a special meeting earlier this month, Hendersonville City Council member Jerry Smith exhibited his chops at explaining wide-ranging and complex subjects in a clear and concise way.

A history and civics teacher at Hendersonville High School, Smith was the driving force behind a three-part session on Feb. 13 designed to describe and receive public input on nearly $30 million worth of capital projects that could change the face of Hendersonville in the coming years. The projects include a downtown parking deck, at a cost of $7.2 million, new police station ($11.5 million), Seventh Avenue streetscape ($1.3 million) and a new $7.5 million Fire Station 1, which would result in the relocation of the Laura E. Corn Mini-golf course from Boyd Park to … who knows where, at a cost of $250,000.
For the first hour, city residents and other interested people could visit kiosks with drawings and information about the capital projects and ask the experts —city administrators, engineers, police and fire officials, the downtown development director, a landscape architect and others.
With the help of city staffers, Smith then presented a synopsis of each project. He opened with an explanation of city and county growth projections and how the projects advance the City Council’s mission to “maintain quality of life while planning for a future that includes population growth, higher population density and greater demand for services.”
In the third segment, set aside for public comment, it became obvious that many residents would insert “small town” before the phrase “quality of life.” It turned out that of $27.75 million in spending, the least expensive project, the mini-golf attraction, was for many people the most consequential. Leave Boyd Park alone and save Putt Putt for future generations and for the good of our northern gateway, speakers said.
Named for Laura E. Corn, the golf course features replicas of area attractions at every hole and is cherished by thousands of little putters, their parents and grandparents. Hendersonville native Larry Phillips told the council he had collected 1,132 signatures of people who oppose the moving of mini-golf.
Corn, who died in 2011 at age 83, devoted her life to children. In younger years, she operated Laura’s Lambs childcare out of her home, then spent 40 years at the Weekday Early Education (WEE) school of First Baptist Church. She ran the golf course for years, handing out putters and golf balls of many colors and serving popcorn. She was known as the “Putt Putt Lady.”
As soon as this week, the City Council may decide the fate of the Laura E. Corn Mini Golf at Boyd Park. Council members are holding a budget retreat Thursday and Friday during which they will discuss all the proposed projects and possibly chart a way forward. Patton Park and Berkeley Park have been suggested as potential new locations for the town’s Putt Putt attraction but here’s betting the Save Boyd Park movement won’t endorse to that. Who could blame City Council members if they feel like they’re lying three on a par 4, in the deep rough and behind a tree. Their shot is no gimme.