How a $6.4 million lake in the heart of Ohio has been transformed into a thriving golf course
The $6 million lake that sits just off the Ohio Turnpike is a gem, but it’s also a rare jewel.
In the years since its construction in the 1980s, it has been turned into the largest golf course in the state, a course that is part of the city of Urbana, a community of about 300 residents, and a site for many other activities.
The course is now the largest undeveloped lake in Ohio, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, with 1,200 acres and an average of about 800 golfers per day.
Now the state of Ohio is looking to add a sixth golf course to the list, but its plan for the course is a bit different from its predecessor.
“We’re looking at making the course more sustainable and not adding to the lake,” said Erin Phelan, director of the Ohio Development Corporation, which manages the lake.
Phelon said the lake has seen a steady decline in its size over the past 30 years, and that the state is looking at how to make it sustainable.
It is currently about 80 percent full, and the lake is forecast to become completely empty by the end of the century, according the DNR.
The agency’s proposed project, called the Woodlands Golf Course, will be located just south of the current Woodlands Lake Golf Course.
The site has about 200 acres and a capacity of about 900 golfers.
The DNR said the plan is to use about half the existing golf course for recreational use, with the remaining portion for the park.
That means the park will be divided between the golf course and a community garden.
Phegans plan calls for the existing lake to be transformed into more of a golf course.
The golf course will be a small one with a single tee, Phelans said, with greens that are about five feet apart.
The greens will be built on a foundation made from wood that will be recycled into new greens.
The existing golf club, she said, will remain as is.
The design for the golf club was approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA), which will determine how to manage the lake, Pheans said.
“There are many, many other uses for the lake in that area that are similar to the golf courses that we have,” Phels said.
The lake has been empty for decades.
The state started pumping groundwater from the lake for the last few years and started pumping fresh water from the nearby Ohio River, but the water hasn’t returned to the water table, Phesans said at the meeting.
The government also plans to turn the lake into a habitat for endangered fish.
Phesons office has been working on plans to convert the lake to a wildlife refuge, and she said it would be a great addition to the nearby community of Urbandale.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is also working on an application for the designation of the lake as a “species of special concern,” according to its website.
“This designation would be needed for a number of reasons, including the significant number of threatened species that live in and near the area and the potential for harm from the release of large amounts of untreated wastewater,” the agency wrote.
Phenons office hopes to have the project approved by June, and hopes to get the permit by December.
“I think we have the right thing in the right place, the right time, and we’re going to get it done,” Phean said.
The Woodlands course will take about 20 years to complete.
For Phelons, it is a bittersweet day.
She said she hopes that by the time it is complete, the lake will be empty and the golfers can go back to the woods.
But the lake’s future is a lot more uncertain than it was when she first came to the state.
“It’s just one of those things where I wish I could get it back in the water,” she said.
Pherans hopes that in 20 years, the golfing community will remember what she went through.
“When I was younger, we never really knew what a lake was or how it looked like,” she told reporters.
“But it’s a beautiful thing now.”
Read more about lake preservation and lake development in Ohio.