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THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin and Facebook. Like a Rock on the Pete Dye Course at the French Lick Resort, French Lick Indiana.

EDITORS NOTE: The Gog Blog would like to thank Barry Cronin at Cronin Communications for keeping us updated on this developing story that affects golfers and the taxpayers of Cook County.

The story goes something like this, and for those who wonder why Cook County is often known as “Crook County” keep reading.

If you don’t know about the Canal Shores Golf Course, you should. It’s not a big course with only a par of 60, but for the moment it does have 18 holes located in Evanston. It’s a not-for-profit that has had plenty of help over the last couple of years, putting it back in shape.

The Northwestern University men’s and women’s golf teams headed up by the schools director of golf Pat Goss and the coaches are among those who have rolled up their sleeves to trim bushes and clean up brush and help fix up the bunkers.

The Canal Shores club logo

The course has received a grant and it’s seen a lot of hard to work to bring back the courses features that had been slowly lost over past years. The issue is now, that a part of the golf course could get lost in the short future.

What’s going on isn’t right, it’s political, and that should come as no surprise to those who live in Cook County, near Chicago, or in the infested politically corrupt state of Illinois. More often than not, the taxpayers get left holding the bag, and that is about to happen again. Who benefits, not you, not me, and not the golfers who play Canal Shores.

Map of the proposed project area

As of now, it’s the Cook County taxpayers who would be on the hook for an estimated $500,000 dollars to put in a 60-by-426 foot road for some private homes, that would pave over most of the par 3, 180 yard 10th hole.

But this proposed road is not just about progress, it’s about the Dick Keefe Development Corporation getting to build four, million dollar plus homes on some property it owns next to the golf course. That land is not accessible from current streets in the area.

But here’s another catch, Illinois Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) the lawyer for Keefe, has an ownership interest in the Dick Keefe-DC according to Cullerton’s 2018 Statement of Economic Interest. The land in question is located in the home district, and down the street from the home of Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin, who most people and area residents would like to have speaking out against the proposal. In the meantime, Sufferdin has been nowhere to be found, and he seems to be in hiding on the issue. Those close to the vote say it appears as of now, the vote would be 6-3 in favor of building the road.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) was supposed to vote last week on November 1st, that vote has now been pushed back to November 15th, after the mid-term elections. Several of the current board members did not run for re-election and will be lame duck members when the vote is taken. What became apparent at the last meeting where over three-dozen local residents and some local government officials spoke out against the road. Only one person Joe Keefe a family member of the developer spoke in favor of the road. The land Keefe bought was landlocked before he bough it in 1988, so now Keefe expects the taxpayers to bail him out of a bad business deal, and he has Cullerton and his political clout to influence the MWRD board to push through the vote in an attempt to fatten his wallet. The MWRD has jurisdiction over the property because the North Shore Channel of the Sanitary and Ship Canal winds through the golf course.

“Keefe has known for many years that his property was effectively landlocked,” said Canal Shores board member Karl Leinberger. “Why should Cook County taxpayers pay for a road that solely benefits the developers family trust and is strongly opposed by the local community.”

What’s even worse, is if the road gets built, the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways gets the cost of maintaining the road. The area that is in the paved area, includes 100 year-old trees and environmentally sensitive wetlands.

Canal Shores built in 1919, serves the community in many ways beyond being just a golf course. The proposed plan to pave over most of the tenth hole, serves nobody except a greedy developer and a politician who helps keep the name “Crook County” active in the vocabulary of most of it’s residents. #SAVEDONTPAVETHETENTH

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.