HCS Proposes Minigolf for Town

Samantha Shea

For the fourth-graders of Mrs. Sheridan’s class at Hamilton Central School, participation in local government has taken on a whole new meaning.

While other classes may learn the different positions within a town council or the laws of their community, the kids in Mrs. Sheridan’s class are putting their knowledge to work. The fourth graders have designed a mini-golf course and recently proposed to the Village Board a plan for its construction.

According to Colgate senior Erin O’Keefe, a student teacher at Hamilton Central School, the kids “elegantly proposed that a mini-golf course should be included in the recreation equipment complex that is scheduled to be installed on Eaton Street in the near future.”

Following this initial proposal, the students began work on a more cohesive proposal that included the design of the golf course, the use of available resources, an explanation for the necessity of such an activity and a survey of the community’s opinion on the matter.

On March 14, Village Trustees Jim Bona and Margaret Miller visited Mrs. Sheridan’s classroom to survey the student’s work and comment on their progress.

According to Bona, the students presented a variety of ideas ranging from sports themes to a water world. The main purpose of the visit, however, was to provide the fourth graders with useful feedback.

“We ask them questions to stretch their brains a little,” Bona said. “We want to know more about the design – how much will it cost? Will it need lights? Who will maintain it? Will admission be free?”

“We want to temper their idealism with a little bit of reality,” Bona said.

In fact, the class plans to present their final proposal in just a few months.

“I think it’s great,” Bona said. “The kids will learn they can petition their local government and can really get things done.”

The course would be an added plus for Colgate students and Hamilton residents alike – it will add to the decidedly limited number of recreational activities in town.

“It’s not just Colgate kids who complain there isn’t anything to do here,” Bona said. “For little kids, outside of the school playground and sports teams, there really isn’t anything to do.”

But with the addition of the planned playground on Eaton Street and the mini-golf course, it seems that options are growing.

“They can walk or ride bikes to it,” Bona said.

The final decision, however, will be up to the entire Village Board. While Trustees still have some questions about the maintenance and specific cost of the project, things seem to be looking up.

“We were both very impressed,” said Village Trustee Margaret Miller.

And, most importantly, the proposal is not “cost prohibitive,” according to Bona.

In the end, all Bona could really say was that “the kids just need to be patient and realize this is a process. It’s not just going to happen overnight. That being said, I was quite impressed with their proposal.”

Perhaps Hamilton residents will soon be putt-putting on a mini-golf course designed by some of its own fourth-graders.