A trust bequest of up to $1,668,000 for future improvements to the Delbrook Public Golf Course on behalf of Earl, Charlotte, and Pat A. Nelson was presented on Jan. 15 following the Common Council meeting. Nelson family representative Patricia Lane Smith and her husband, Michael Smith (center) are joined by City of Delavan Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis and Delbrook golf pro Dan Piecha.

By Michael S. Hoey


Delbrook Golf Course received a $1.7 million be-quest on behalf of Earl, Charlotte and Pat A. Nelson last week. Patricia Lane Smith, a cousin of Pat Nelson, presented the donation to the Delavan Common Council on Jan. 15.

Smith said Nelson passed away on June 23 and she is the trustee of Nelson’s charitable remainder uni-trust. Smith said Delbrook was named as the beneficiary and Nelson explicitly stated the funds should be used for capital improvements to the course.

“Pat wanted to improve the course itself and make it a real top-notch course for future golfers,” Smith said. “Perhaps we can work together in order to accomplish that.”

Smith said she was aware the city has already been improving the course with new sand traps and other things. She said she would soon sit down with Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis and city staff to discuss what future improvements could be made with the funds.

According to Smith, Nelson’s parents – Earl Nelson and Charlotte Flood Nelson, both pillars of the community. Pat Nelson grew up in Delavan, and attended Delavan High School and Marquette University. Her parents eventually moved to Venice, Florida and she followed.

Smith said Earl and Charlotte Nelson were both avid golfers and Charlotte in particular loved Delbrook.

Nieuwenhuis said he was speechless other than to thank Nelson. Alderman Bruce DeWitt said the donation should make for an ex-citing future for Delbrook.

“Words cannot describe how thankful we are of the donation,” Nieuwenhuis said after the meeting.

“This will have a great impact on making improvements to Delbrook Golf Course,” Nieuwenhuis added. “I look forward to our next golf commission meeting in February to discuss the needs of Delbrook.”


Homelessness Task Force to be established

The council approved forming a task force to study homelessness and poverty and its impact on the city. Alderman Ryan Schroeder made the motion and started the conversation about how the task force will be com-posed.

No firm decisions were made at last week’s meeting about the composition of the task force. Nieuwenhuis said he envisioned a seven-member group comprised of two aldermen and five citizens. Schroeder suggested contacting Walworth County to see if someone representing the county would be willing to serve. Schroeder said the issue was a county and even statewide issue.

Administrator Denise Pieroni said the Delavan-Darien School District spearheaded a group called the Delavan-Darien Community Alliance a few years ago that has become a countywide organization more recently. She said that group meets in Delavan at the Community Action building and might be able to provide assistance.

Ron Henriott suggested the city study what its role will be in this task force be-cause that role could be larger than the aldermen are currently thinking it will be.


Park and recreation agreement approved

The council approved a new three-year inter-govern-mental agreement with the Village of Darien to provide parks and recreation services to the village that will cover 2019-2021. The new agreement does not include the Town of Darien.

The previous three-year agreement was for the city to provide services both to the Village and Town of Darien, but the town notified the city in March that it would opt out of the agreement when it expired on Dec. 31.

The new agreement calls for the Village of Darien to pay the city $8,500 in the first year, $8,748 in the second year, and $9,000 for the third year for a total of $26,248, which is about half of what the agreement would have generated for the city if the Town of Darien had remained part of it.

According to a letter from Town Chairman Cecil Logterman addressed to Village President Kurt Zipp and Mayor Mel Nieuwenhuis in March of 2018, the town wished to renegotiate one or more of the terms of the agreement. If negotiations failed, Logterman said the letter served as its notice to terminate the agreement effective Dec. 31, 2018.

“It is the sincere desire of the Town of Darien to pro-vide its residents with recreational opportunities,” Logterman wrote, “However, we do not wish to continue with the program as currently structured.”


1 Comment

  1. Arlo Samsung says:

    Is there a check in place to make sure the trust bequest of $1,668,000 for future improvements to the Delbrook Public Golf Course on behalf of Earl, Charlotte, and Pat A. Nelson is used properly and efficiently?

    I golf at Delbrook more than once per week and not impressed with the asphalt cart paths (finish landscaping very poor or non-existent) and what looks to be a driving range net system that looks to have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Many holes on the course ride like a washboard and the tee boxes are in dire need of severe leveling and have for some time.

    I love Delbrook and have played here every year for over 45 years. I really had high hopes for this ‘gift’ would be used to “improve the course itself” as stated directly by Pat Nelson, the trustee. So far I hope all the money was not spent already and some can be used to fix what is broken first. The golf range net is ‘nice’ but has nothing to do with improving the golf experience at Delbrook which has slid over the years due to many factors including a need for more general maintenance (mowing, etc.)

    I heard that they were down to 2 or 3 part-time lawn employees to mow and groom the entire 27 holes and paid $8.50/hr. I am not sure if that is accurate, but sounds like we are getting what we pay for or lack there of. I understand the course is owned and run by the city, but it should make a profit?

    I hope to continue to play at Delbrook for many years, and only hope things get better, as Delbrook used to be a great course in great shape. Meanwhile I have been golfing more at other courses on weekends to get my moneys worth.

    Regards, Arlo

    P.S. – I noticed rates went up during COVID times with an economy that is in major flux, was this a good idea…