Thursday, August 21, 2008

An Argument Against Re-naming Constitition Way

A little history from a long-time Ogden political activist

By Catherine Feeny
Former Regent
Daughters of the American Revolution
Golden Spike Chapter


Your suggestions for new names for the street leading to the Mount Ogden Golf Course are very clever, fun, and original, but please don't consider changing the present name of Constitution Way. Let me tell you how it received that name. In 1987, the National President of the Daughters of the American Revolution suggested that all the chapters in the country try to get a park or a road named after the Constitution of the United States, as a means of celebrating the Bicentennial of its adoption.

As the Regent of Ogden's Golden Spike Chapter, I asked for and got permission from Mayor Robert Madsen, Ogden's mayor at the time, to name a street in Ogden, and he chose this street, leading to the Mount Ogden Golf Course.

A date was set, and a program planned for the occasion of the street dedication. It consisted of two distinguished, gentlemen of Ogden, as speakers, explaining the importance of the Constitution and paying honor to it. Following that, "The Men of Song" delighted everyone with several lovely, patriotic songs. The yellow ribbon across the road was cut by Assistant Mayor, Dr. Clifford Goff, who declared the street to be named "Constitution Way."

After this, the hundreds of red, wnite, and blue gas balloons were launched into the air. They had been blown up earlier in the morning by a boy scout troop and held from "taking off" by being contained in a parachute, borrowed from Hill Field, staked to the ground.

It was thrilling to see all those balloons rising into the sky, and to complete the celebation, Farr's Ice Cream bars and drinks from a Coca Cola machine were provided as refreshments for all present.

So, as you can see, it was a meaningful undertaking, and since none of the other suggested names actually give directions to get there, why can't there just be some signs on Harrison, perhaps, telling people the golf course is on Taylor Avenue between 29th Street and 32nd Street? Once they get to Taylor there is a sign, and they will be able to see the club house beyond the very impressive expanse of green lawn, bordered by the stretch of beautiful, white fence.

Our Constitution has survived over 200 years. I would hope Constitution Way might have a decent longevity. Think of it as strong, lasting, and something to be proud of. Surely it needs to survive and help to resist any attempt to remove or revise the golf course it leads to. Instead of spending 6 million dollars to make "so-called" improvements, why not use some of that money to subsidize this jewel, that it is in our community, if necessary? However, that might not be needed for the long term, since more rounds of golf are being played there, recently, I understand.

Save it, and don't change any of it, please.

22 comments:

Tec Jonson said...

I'll second that. However harmless renaming a street may be, to rescind a street name like Constitution Way seems quite symbolic for a time when , in reality, key elements of our constitution may well be rescinded. T forget the ceremony and intention of it's naming, is symptomatic of our times when most people have no idea of the essence of our constitution nor how it's protections allows them to function as a freeman. I say keep it Constitution Way.

dorrene jeske said...

Catherine,

I did not know the history of naming Constitution Way. I agree that it should NOT be renamed for any reason. The Constitution with its Bill of Rights is a most important and endearing document to Americans. I regret that I did not know about the ceremony naming the street "Constitution Way." It sounds like a most memorable event. I salute the Daughters of the American Revolution Ogden Chapter for providing such a historic event for people of Ogden. I would like to see a plaque telling that story hanging in the Mount Ogden club house. We'll have to see what we can do about it so no one else tries to change the name. Thank you for enlightening us.

Tom Owens said...

Thank you Mz. Feeny for the education on the naming of Constitution Way, and thank you for the many years you have served the citizens of Ogden, and the US, with all of your past political and public service. You are an inspiration and I salute you.

dan s. said...

It would be easy for golf course promotional materials to simply give its address as "Constitution Way (30th Street)".

The real problem isn't the name of the street. It's the lack of directional signs and the many other acts of negligence on the part of a city administration that would rather sell the golf course than promote it.

There used to be 60,000 rounds played annually at the Mount Ogden Golf Course. Now the number is barely over half that. The administration claims that this is due to competition from other courses, but then why hasn't El Monte's use also declined? The problem is mismanagement.

Reach Upward said...

No doubt there are problems with signage, maintenance, and other issues. But don't blame all of the decline in rounds of golf played on the administration.

Numbers of rounds of golf played has been steadily declining nationwide for over a decade. There are a variety of reasons behind the trend, but it is a real and broad social trend.

Improving signage, property, services, and promotional materials would help Mount Ogden. But it will not counteract the overall trend. This trend will necessarily lead to fewer golf courses nationwide. Some golf courses will close. City government is right to question how much taxpayers are willing to spend to keep Mount Ogden open as a golf course.

dan s. said...

reach,

Then how do you explain the increase in the number of rounds played at El Monte?

dan s. said...

Nationally, the number of rounds played, after dropping by 0.1% in 2001, 3.0% in 2002 and 1.5% in 2003, finally went into positive territory in 2004 with a modest 0.7% increase, based on "same store sales." This is a cumulative loss of 3.9% in rounds played since golfs all-time high of 518.1 million rounds in 2001.

The golf industry has found that people in the 25 to 55 age group are now spending more weekend time with their children than on the golf course. With baby boomers retiring in massive numbers, the hope is to convince more of them to take up the game and forgo other activities.


That's from a 2005 article that I found with Google.

Obviously there are multiple competing factors at work: popularity trends, population growth, an aging population, and competition from other courses. But rather than looking for other places to put the blame, shouldn't our city be focusing on what's within our control?

Tec Jonson said...

Right-o, Dan,

Why not have kid's day and programs to get more students golfing for the fun of it. Not necessarily golf teams as those are already existing. Any program to get inner city kids golfing and young women who seem to shun the game until it's sewing circle time. I am sick of the Godfrey administrations attack on our most solid recreational asset. Of course, all the downtown businessmen who can afford to golf at the newer fangled pro-designed courses that are subsidized by the surrounding real estate, they will lick the 9th floor anus and not stand up for truly municipal golf. Honestly, I find the excessive land cutting and scaping that goes with modern golf courses to be eye candy for the wealthy losers who think they can get a better golf experience at the next 5-star elitist club. Let me clue them in, you still have to hit a good shot with accuracy. Whether you play Mt Ogden or Pebble Beach, your skill will be tested and isn't that the point. I could have fun golfing in the desert. It's a matter of taste and an appreciation of challenge. I'll propose that these wanna-be golf experts are little more than intermediates if they can't appreciate playing a place that may well rival St. Andrews for sheer challenge.

Tec Jonson said...

GODFREY DOESN'T GOLF, GODFREY DOESN'T SKI, DOES NOT SNOWBOARD, DOES NOT CLIMB, DOES NOT WIELD TOOLS...He is an effeminate neo-con/neo-fascist and his followers are either his top or bottom. Go find a golf community with foo-foo benches and easy greens where you can be happy with your subsidized score.

george k said...

Reach in your post above you said, “No doubt there are problems with signage, maintenance, and other issues. But don't blame all of the decline in rounds of golf played on the administration….. Improving signage, property, services, and promotional materials would help Mount Ogden.”
Maybe not ALL of the problems at Mt. Ogden golf course are due to the Mayor’s ambition to sell it, but a good share of them are, because: 1) SIGNAGE: The Council budgeted for signage in the current budget to be installed with instructions to see that it was done – NOTHING so far! 2) BUDGET: For the past five years, MOGC’s budget has been cut by the Mayor! Jeske asked the administration for an explanation on how they could expect to improve the golf course and play on it by continually cutting its budget, but she received no answer. The Mayor has done his creative financing with the MOGC’s budget in a negative manner, adding charges that are not its obligation. 3) MAINTENANCE AND SERVICE: Because of these budget cuts, staff has been reduced and Jeff McFarland and a few staunch MOGC volunteer supporters maintain a huge golf course. They do an outstanding and exceptional job with limited resources. They donate countless hours of their own time in order to improve and maintain the golf course and service to patrons. 4) ADVERTISING: Jeff and Todd Brenkman do a great job of promoting the golf courses with limited funds. When Jeske suggested to the Mayor that pictures of the golf course and a small blurb advertising it be included with other Ogden promotional materials, the Mayor quickly said that it wouldn’t help Mt. Ogden. 5) GOLF CARTS: The Administration is well aware that there are not enough golf carts at MOGC. On weekends, golfers are turned away and some will never return, but there is no budget to replace or buy additional carts. When tournaments are held, carts must be rented and transported to MOGC, costing thousands of dollars, and decreasing the profits to a minus figure.
These are all conditions that the administration could remedy if they were set on selling MOGC.

george k said...

Reach you also said, “City government is right to question how much taxpayers are willing to spend to keep Mount Ogden open as a golf course.” I agree, but it should be done fairly and impartially. Forming a committee and stacking it with known people who want to sell it instead of seeking reasonable solutions is not fair nor impartial! A proposal for modifications to the golf course that amount to between $6 and $8 million is not reasonable! There are a number of people who also believe that modifications can be made for a fourth of that amount.

The Council has asked Bill Cook to schedule a work session to consider other solutions to help the golf course be profitable or at least break even. There are a number of residents who feel that it is far more advantageous to Ogden to find ways to solve the problems than sell or change the function of MOGC. Millions of dollars have been invested into MOGC and it would be a great waste to destroy the golf course.

brett said...

Dan S. is completely correct when he said: “The real problem isn't the name of the street. It's the lack of directional signs and the many other acts of negligence on the part of a city administration that would rather sell the golf course than promote it.” The purpose of the name change was to draw attention to the golf course and try to encourage increased play. What we need is a way to encourage action on the part of the administration to have the signage installed.

Tec Jonson said...

I'll have to say one of the things that turns off new golfers is the extreme seriousness of the avid golfer. It's actually quite annoying to the casual golfer who doesn't give a damn about his score. There is also a contingent of speed golfers who push through from behind and get antsy if you take your time. Then there are the elitists who sneer if you are not wearing Izod and carrying a Callaway bag. The beauty of Mt Ogden is that these types are not so prevalent. It is truly a working-class community golf course. The type that breeds real golfers with real hunger for skills. We have an opportunity to create a golf community with new generations raised on truly challenging golf. Does Matt Godfrey take his kids out for golf at MOGC?

Susan said...

Tec, You're funny. You said yourself that Godfrey doesn't golf. The only time I've seen Godfrey with his kids are at parades -- showing that he's a good father. And of course, he takes them on fabulous European vacations! I'll bet he's never taken them fishing or to do most things that ordinary children do.

a mt ogden golfer said...

It is quite obvious from playing at Mt Ogden over the past several years that the course is being run "on the cheap." The fact that played rounds are up this year is rather amazing, given how bad the weather was in the spring, not to mention that Memorial Day - probably the 2nd or 3rd biggest golf day of the year - was a complete wash out. Mt Ogden is a good course and with a little money could be very good. But as it is now it seems like it is being run to fail. Imagine that.

Hyad Venture said...

This thread is simply not high adventure enough. Please stop posting to it.

I Like it said...

hyad venture, why don't you stop reading it then if it doesn't suit YOU!

susan said...

hyad venture, I like it is right. You're stepping on people's right to free speech.

Tec Jonson said...

I like it, and Susan,

Uh, maybe I'm wrong, but hyad's comment sure looked like a tongue was firmly planted in cheek.

Curmudgeon said...

Susan:

Well, besides hyad's post probably being intended as a joke as Tec noted, the "right to free speech" really isn't involved, even if he or she meant the post to be taken seriously.

This is a private blog. The blog owner can edit, remove, suppress whatever he wishes on it. Neither you nor I nor anyone else, the blog owner excepted, has a right to say or post anything here. Nada. None at all.

The First Amendment guarantee of free speech respects only government attempts to limit speech. Rudi could decide tomorrow to ban all posts here except those praising fried Twinkies as a gourmet delight, if he wanted to, and he'd be violating absolutely no one's free-speech rights.

susan said...

Maybe the Geigers and FOMs have made me cyncical, touchy and just plain tired of their harrassment. So if hiad venture, if you're not one of the above-mentioned people, and were trying to make a joke, I'm sorry my sense of humor did not recognize your post as such. I love a good sense of humor and really enjoy one so if that is the case, please keep posting.

drewmeister said...

Mmm. Fried Twinkies. That sounds good. I've had Twinkies, but I haven't had them fried. A low-calorie, low-carb treat.

Fried Twinkies - A High Adventure Delicacy. ;-)

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