DNR holds open house for Kohler's golf course request

People gather around a map at a DNR open house on August 24, 2017 for Kohler Company's request to use 4.46 acres of Kohler-Andrae State Park for its proposed golf course. (Photo credit: WLUK)

SHEBOYGAN COUNTY (WLUK) -- The public had a chance to hear about and discuss Kohler Company's request to use part of a state park for a new golf course.

Kohler is trying to build an 18-hole golf course on 247 acres of land it owns just north of the state park.

Kohler Company is asking the Department of Natural Resources to use less than one percent, or 4.46 acres, of Kohler-Andrae State Park for its proposed golf course.

“We don't think any of us would be allowed to ask to use land for a private profit,” said Mary Faydash of Sheboygan.

A group called the Friends of Black River Forest rallied outside UW-Sheboygan ahead of a DNR open house to discuss Kohler's request. The group's members have a variety of environmental concerns with the project.

“The point is the effects that will happen to the surrounding water and land from what he does on his land,” said Faydash.

Kohler's request is for an easement to provide an entrance into the new golf course. Kohler would also build a maintenance facility on the land.

“I am a golfer so I am in favor of golf courses,” said Peter Matthias of Sheboygan.

The DNR's open house at UW-Sheboygan was the first step in possibly changing the master plan for Kohler-Andrae.

“We'll take the information that we gather tonight, the feedback we have, work with our DNR internal team of staff experts to develop a recommendation,” said Diane Brusoe, property planning section chief for the DNR.

“If they ask for an easement, that land they want for the 4.2 acres isn't really used for anything now anyways,” said Matthias. “It's just barren land.”

The DNR plans to present its recommendation and hold a public informational hearing at some point this fall.

Kohler Company says it would provide the state a parcel of land equal or greater in size for the public to use in exchange for the easement.

Kohler still needs a variety of permits to be able to proceed with the golf course.

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