The former Sunkissed Meadows Golf Course has the potential to become much more than an expanse of grass on the east bank of the Des Moines River, in the opinion of a pair of Fort Dodge men.
The father and son duo of Gary and Chad Carr envision an expanded pond, a handful of putting greens and a fenced-in dog park at the site.
They also would like to rename the property The Bob Brown Memorial Park in honor of the former sports editor of The Messenger. Brown, who died in 2012, worked at the newspaper from 1956 to 1993 and for all but about three years of that time he was the sports editor. From 1976 to 1978, he was the paper’s editor.
The Carrs started talking about future possibilities for the old golf course last summer, and they’re now going public with their ideas.
Gary Carr said their proposal is “just in the talking stage now.”
“We’re not rigid with these ideas we’ve come out with,” Chad Carr said.
City Manager David Fierke said the Carrs’ proposal will be discussed as part of a community planning process to begin later this year. Part of that process will include a review of the city’s riverfront master plan, he said.
“We need to involve the Carrs, especially when we talk riverfront,” he said.
Councilman Terry Moehnke, who represents Ward 1 in which the former golf course is located, described the proposal as “a great idea.”
“I think the Carrs have come up with a good plan,” he said.
Sunkissed Meadows Golf Course was a par-three, nine-hole course which opened in 1976 along Meriwether Drive. It closed in 2012, after failing to attract golfers and sufficient revenues for several years.
The Carrs propose to expand the pond along the former hole No. 8 at the north end of the course.
“We envision parking and picnic tables all around this pond,” Gary Carr said.
He said the pond used to be connected to a water main so that it could be easily filled. He said he doesn’t know if that water main is still there.
Gary Carr said he hopes that the state Department of Natural Resources will someday stock the pond with fish.
Preserving the putting greens at holes one, eight and nine is another part of their proposal. Gary Carr said the greens would be covered with artificial turf to avert the need for mowing. Those greens, he said, would be places where golfers could practice their short game and perhaps teach their children or grandchildren how to putt.
The proposed dog park would be on the east side of the old course, close to Meriwether Drive. Gary Carr said the upkeep of that portion of the site could be paid for with fees paid by people who bring their dogs to the park.
He said there are no homes close to the proposed dog park site, which he said would eliminate complaints from neighbors.
Both Carrs are fishermen, and they’re around the former golf course quite a bit during fishing outings along the Des Moines River. Chad Carr said their proposals for the site were developed as they were “spitballing ideas of things that should be in our town.”