For nearly a century, golfers have teed off on the scenic Fitzsimons Golf Course in Aurora. Notables such as former President Dwight D. Eisenhower played here and over the course of nearly a century, it evolved from an unassuming three-hole course with greens made entirely of sand to one of the city’s most illustrious courses. But on Friday, December 17, 2017, the Fitzsimons Golf Course’s storied history came to its predetermined end, with golfers playing their last rounds on the historic course.
The closure of the course was not unexpected. In fact, it had been planned from the beginning. Owned by the United States Army from its inception in 1918 until its transfer to public ownership in 1998, plans for the course’s ultimate closure to make way for an ambitious new science center have long been in the works.
The closing comes as of Aurora plans to begin groundbreaking on its Bioscience 3 building. The redevelopment initiative is being headed by the Fitzsimons Redevelopment Authority (FRA), which plans to begin site preparations for the construction of the new science center at the close of 2017. The FRA negotiated with the Army, which had held the mortgage on the course, to release the mortgage to allow the redevelopment plans to be put into action. City equipment will be moved offsite and control of the property will be turned over to the FRA by the start of 2018, with construction slated to begin shortly thereafter.
The new Bioscience 3 building will encompass more than 110,000 square feet across three stories. The site will serve as a much-needed annex for Aurora’s illustrious Bioscience 1 center. In addition, significant segments of the sweeping Fitzsimons course will be redeveloped into parking lots and related facilities to serve the two science centers. The FRA hopes that the expected redevelopment will add jobs to the area while also helping to bolster the economy and enhance the city’s already stellar reputation as a center for science, technology, medicine, and learning.
The FRA notes that, despite the sad, though not unexpected loss of the Fitzsimons Golf Course, Aurora is currently served by five highly successful golf courses owned and operated by the city, making the Fitzsimons a valued but the largely unnecessary facility in an already well-served local market. The FRA also affirms its commitment to further developing the city’s recreational opportunities in the wake of the Fitzsimons closure. Among the most significant of these projects will be the development and expansion of Sandy Creek Park. The City of Aurora and the FRA cite the Park’s vicinity to the medical campus as a prime venue for expansion, allowing patients, visitors, and staff to benefit from the planned enhancements. These include the construction of a new discovery playground and the development of nature overlooks and scenic trails. Additionally, the city is home to a variety of amazing local parks which means that you don’t have to be a golfer to enjoy the amazing open spaces! Our technicians and veterinarians love that our city is so park friendly- in fact, our practice is located minutes from one of the Aurora’s best parks!
Just as President Eisenhower once enjoyed the benefits of convalescing on the Fitzsimons Golf Course, the city and the FRA hope and expect that the planned improvements to Sandy Creek Park will provide tremendous therapeutic benefit to patients recovering and rehabilitating at the medical campus, as well as providing comfort and recreation to their families and loved ones. All this while granting the town’s citizens and tourists still more opportunities to enjoy Aurora’s beautiful landscape and exceptional recreational facilities.