Salt Lakers who would rather die than give up golf might not have to choose between the two.
That's because Rep. Wayne Owens, D-Utah, and Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, introduced bills Thursday to allow an unused section of Mount Olivet Cemetery - where no one is expected to be buried for another 70 years - to become a golf course until then.The cemetery obtained the 35 acres in question from the federal government in 1909 on the condition that the government would regain ownership automatically if it were ever used for anything but a graveyard. So Congress must give permission for the "temporary" 70-year golf course.
Expected to be called the Mount Olivet Golf Academy, the facility would have practice tees, greens and a nine-hole course.
Owens told the House, "My golf game has a terrible slice. Unfortunately for all golfers in Utah who need to practice, we have a relatively small number of golf facilities. We have only a handful of golf courses in the city, and people have to drive many miles to avoid crowds."
He added, "The golf facility will be a major asset to our community - ideal for golf teams, junior golfers and clinics. It will replace a large weeded vacant lot with trees, shrubs, greens and flowers."
Hatch said it might reduce another sort of greens fee for residents, too.
"The improvements that are designed to serve the golf facility in terms of irrigation systems and landscaping will, in the future, reduce the development cost to Mount Olivet and hopefully reduce the cost of interment for the citizens of this community," he said.
Of note, congressional aides said the matter had once been included in a proposed bill to complete the Central Utah Project. But it was withdrawn from it and later run as a separate bill when oversight committees complained a golf course wasn't germane to the massive water project.