The company led by a generous contributor to Republican Governor Scott Walker has proposed building a road and maintenance facility in a state park that would serve a new high-end golf course on company-owned land adjacent to the park.
The Kohler Company’s request for a conditional use permit to develop the new course on its land is scheduled for a July 16 hearing before the Town of Wilson Plan Commission.
In addition, the Department of Natural Resources must approve an easement before the golf course maintenance facility and road can be built on state property. The affected acreage includes forest and wetlands in the Kohler-Andrae State Park near Lake Michigan.
The Kohler project comes amid years of criticism the Walker administration has pushed to make the DNR a more business-friendly agency at the expense of safeguarding the environment.
Kohler Company employees contributed $51,304 between 2009 and 2013 to legislative and statewide candidates. Most of the contributions – $44,500 – were made by company president Herb Kohler Jr. Walker received $42,254 followed by GOP Senators Joe Leibham of Sheboygan at $3,950 and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald of Juneau at $2,000 from Kohler and his employees.
Kohler developed Whistling Straits golf course which will host the 2015 PGA Championship, one of professional golf’s four major tournaments. The course also hosted the 2004 and 2010 PGA Championships.