St. Paul’s Town & Country Club Welfare Queens

Most residents of the City of St. Paul pay a special assessment when sidewalks are added or renovated in front of their homes. But, one exception to this is the members of Town & Country Club, where they threaten to sue for being treated the same and everyone else. Instead, they managed to get the city to pay for what everyone else in the city normally pays for. So, if you live in St. Paul, make sure to yell during golfer’s backswings to let them know how pleased you are footing the bill for a sidewalk along their property.

Here’s a summary of the story from the TC Sidewalks, who summarizes the Highland Villager’s coverage (but doesn’t publish online).

Title: City, club find middle ground on Marshall Avenue sidewalk; St. Paul agrees to pay all construction costs
Author: Jane McClure

Not-so-short version: A [surprisingly slanted] above-the-fold bit which views it a “middle ground” compromise that the wealthy lawyers who golf at the Town and Country threatened a lawsuit and forced city taxpayers to foot 100% of the bill for completing [at long last] the unfinished sidewalk along Marshall. The piece cites the T&C folks prominently, and buries Councilmember Stark’s epistolary defense of the sidewalk: “People walking from the east of Town and Country Club ‘need to cross busy Marshall Avenue twice in order to cross the bridge or go north on Mississippi River Blvd. … A street that inconveniences the pedestrians as compared to the motorist or cyclist, is not a street designed to encourage walking. In my mind, and in the estimation of the many community members who conceived and worked to implement this project, this public good outweighs the loss of the crab apple trees and the addition of a modest amount of concrete'”. [Seems sensible to me? For years, I’ve wondered why there was no place to walk there. Plus, cyclists don’t exactly have it easy. There’s no bike lane on what is a very central route over the Marshall Avenue bridge. -Ed.]

8 thoughts on “St. Paul’s Town & Country Club Welfare Queens”

  1. I read an early article in the Villager where Town and country tried to express concern that pedestrians walking on the sidewalk might be hit with golf balls. Let’s set aside the fact that those golf balls are hit by town and country members, and ask ourselves how the dirt path emerged along the “grassy knoll” which will soon have a new sidewalk. Is that a “game trail”?

    I also love the huge banners hung at the corner of Marshall and Cretin that say “Save these Trees” because I’m certain the loss of trees is the primary reason they don’t want pedestrians walking along the CITY PROPERTY that borders their golf course.

  2. @Matt, I caddied at T&C back in the day, and I can assure you that pedestrians are safe walking along Marshall Ave (if there is a sidewalk for them to walk on). T&C does not have many golfers with bad hooks. They’re slicers. Since the 9th hole runs from east to west, they would have to pull or hook their shots rather aggressively to end up on the sidewalk or street. While it’s not impossible, I don’t remember looking for a ball even once in the woods along the sidewalk during the years I spend lugging bags.

  3. The well worn path demonstrates that people already walk along the course. This sidewalk should have been built years ago. Their opposition to the project is ridiculous.

  4. Have been there for a few weddings, decent facility but that area kind of smells in the summer.

    Are sidewalks alongside courses in the city the norm? I can’t remember but I think ghettobrook (public) in SLP and Minnekada(private) both lack sidewalks on certain sides of public streets?

  5. Well, both those courses (SLP and along Calhoun) are not really in places that get a lot of pedestrian and cycle traffic. I don’t think there are bus stops along those streets, for example.

    Town & Country is, however, in the middle of a walkable urban neighborhood and right on a major transit and street connection (the Lake / Marshall bridge, the #21 and #53 bus lines, near the well-travelled river road, lots of students, etc.) Very different places. There should be a sidewalk there, and the golf course should have paid the $40K for it.

  6. We’ve paved over most of the city – let’s leave some greenspace alone for once! The sidewalk is an absolute waste of city funds when the city is facing a shortfall (even if it is federal grant money).

  7. @Jerry, I imagine that the people who’ve asked for the sidewalk would disagree with your perspective. The city isn’t investing limited resources on sidewalks just for fun.

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