Monday, June 24, 2019

Tomah VA plans groundbreaking to ready golf course to re-open

Local golfers will have another nine holes to play in the future.

Members of the  Jason Simcakoski Memorial Foundation, city of Tomah and the Tomah VA Medical Center will break ground to prepare for the re-opening of the Tomah VA Golf Course Friday, April 26 at 1 p.m. They will gather at the first hole tee box on the course. The nine-hole course was closed in 2014 and its future in limbo.

It has been a cooperative effort to re-open the course for veterans and the public to play since that time. Money from the Simcakoski foundation made it possible for the project to reach this point. Simcakoski is the veteran who died from an overdose of prescribed medications while he was at the Tomah VA.

Rob Hilliard is the veteran/ombudsman at the Tomah VA who has worked to revive the nine-hole course. At first it was hoped the course could open in 2018, but funds were not available.

The plan is to open the course as a "therapy course" which would require less maintenance to get it ready. There is a business plan and landscape plan in place. The foundation's intent is to find alternative way for veterans to heal without drugs.

The city and VA entered into a partnership with the foundation to assist getting the golf course ready. It would involve assistance from the city's Public Works Department to include some earth preparation and assistance hooking existing infrastructure on the property well to supply water for irrigation when needed.

The goal is to have course care handled by Disabled American Veterans (DAV) volunteers. They also envision the course to be utilized for cross country skiing in the future.

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