The renovation of the Cobbs Creek Golf Course hit a small hurdle on May 10 as the Cobbs Creek Foundation sought approval from the Philadelphia Art Commission of the next phase of its construction, a pumphouse and reservoir for irrigating the golf course, with the commission asking the foundation to return at a future meeting for final approval of the design.
As Grid has reported, the City signed a $1, 30-year lease (70 years with renewals, and with no competing bids) with the newly formed and politically connected Cobbs Creek Foundation, which is based in West Conshohocken. The plans for the course include revitalizing the bed of Cobbs Creek and its tributaries that run through the golf course as well as restoring its landscaping to its original 1916 design, which entailed the clearing of 100 acres of forest on the site.
The Philadelphia Art Commission has to approve new buildings in Philly parks, and it holds meetings with open comment from the public, making its meetings rare opportunities for the public to weigh in on the project. It took the foundation four attempts to gain approval for the previous phase — the driving range and education center.
The design presented at the meeting is for a rectangular reservoir at the corner of Lansdowne and Haverford Avenues, edged by trees and meadow. Commissioners asked about the source of the water and the staging of this phase within the overall golf course renovation. Foundation representatives said the reservoir will initially be filled by a well, though once the creek restoration is complete, the reservoir will be filled with water from Cobbs Creek and Indian Creek, a tributary.
Other questions from commissioners and the public dealt with trees being removed and trees being planted as well as plans to manage geese at the reservoir. Tim Reimer, commenting as a member of the public, pointed out that the trees indicated for removal in the architectural renderings didn’t include all the trees removed when most of the golf course’s trees were logged from the end of 2021 into the beginning of 2022.
The commission granted conceptual approval for the pumphouse and reservoir, meaning that the foundation will need to present the plans for final approval at the June 14 commission meeting.