On August 14, 2010, at a time when many people take their annual vacation before the crazy season of back to school and all those programs that start up, the Fort Sheridan Master Plan Advisory Committee scheduled an open house to review the golf course plans for Fort Sheridan. For those who were in town, attending this open house was made even more inconvenient as it was scheduled from 5 PM to 7:30 PM, a time generally committed to feeding the kids, commuting from work or picking up the cleaning. In sum, this schedule was convenient only for the people who organized the event and retired people who enjoy the flexibility of scheduling their own time. It certainly was not convenient for the average tax paying Lake County resident. That’s why I was just delighted to see the turnout at this open house.
I conducted a headcount as I stood outside the open house handing my “No Golf at Fort Sheridan” pamphlets to those who would take it. I counted about 180 people, a little higher than those the newspapers said attended. But even more impressive than the number was the composition of the crowd and their attitude toward the golf course.
Marching in, sometimes in couples, sometimes alone, came residents of the adjacent subdivision. Mostly older, many retired, militant and defensive, if they took a pamphlet they were as likely to tear it up in my face reflecting the incivility, I’ve come to expect from many (but not all) who support the golf course. Then came the other, mostly younger, people. The ones who will have to bear the cost of this stupid golf course idea. The ones who will lose their access to the areas the golf course might occupy.
But it wasn’t age or employment status that separated those who opposed the golf course from those who supported this misguided plan. The supporters came almost exclusively from among the 550 homes in the Town of Fort Sheridan subdivision (it is not a town). And it is noteworthy that many were there from this same subdivision who also thought, like me, this was a bad, bad idea. Thank you AC, JM, JB and others whose names I didn’t get.
With almost no exception, those who opposed the golf course came from other places in Lake County. They came from Libertyville, Antioch, Waukegan, Mundelein, as well as Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, Deerfield and Highland Park. They also came from beyond Lake County. People came from Glencoe, Northbrook, Buffalo Grove. None of these people came to choose among the 3 hastily assembled “options” the Forest Preserve had thrown together. No, they came to say that any golf course option was a dumb idea and what the heck was the Forest Preserve thinking?
And there you have it. The tyranny of a small handful from the neighboring subdivision pouting over “their” golf course. Shaking their Krugerrand in their pocket and threatening their Lake County Commissioners with self-funded lawsuits if they were denied. And the taxpaying everyone else saying, “What, are you nuts? No golf at Fort Sheridan”