Police Keep Historic Country Club Neighborhood Closed To Golf Fans

By: Melina Matthes

OMAHA (kptm) - It's been years of preparation, finally today golfers tested their luck in the 34th U.S. Senior Open by taking their first official swing in the beginning round.

But, those attending the championship aren't having the same fortune. They're finding out they can't park anywhere near the course.

Those living in the surrounding neighborhoods say they're happy police are keeping visitors out.

Hundreds of fans are attending the U.S. Senior Open at the Omaha Country Club. The Omaha police department says its number one priority is to ensure fan safety and keep the neighborhoods quiet.

One of the ways it's doing that is by shuttling in fans on buses. Officials say they're extremely convenient and it's just a way to keep the neighborhood calm during all the chaos.

Jim Cunningham is a resident in the Country Club Historic District he says it has been more quiet than usual. "There's a lot less traffic than normal in the neighborhood."

The Country Club neighborhood is quiet and calm near Cunningham's home. Just a few houses down though, the street surrounding the community is busy with buses full of fans, golf carts and police officers.

To help keep the area peaceful for those living near the course, cops are at each intersection preventing visitors from parking. "Every time I try to come in my neighborhood there's people like being stopped cause they try to come in this way and they can't," resident Lauren May says.

Lieutenant Matt Lippold says, "they have tons of shuttles running and they're running all the time, there's no parking in the immediate area, it's almost impossible to walk up to the area."

People in the neighborhood say it's been very quiet. There are no cars parked on the streets and that's because the police officers are checking every vehicle that comes in the area. The homeowners in the neighborhood were each given four parking passes, allowing them the opportunity to come and go as they please. "Police just wave you through and we go our way and it's fine," resident Theresa Pignotti says.

And so far, Pignotti says, it's working. "If we didn't know it was down there, we wouldn't know a difference. It's been quiet and great."

Pignotti also says it makes living near the U.S. Senior Open a blessing and not a curse.

Officials say the shuttles are extremely convenient. The Omaha police department encourages all the fans to use them. The easiest way is to get on at the north Omaha airport at 72nd and highway 36.

Again, parking in and around the Omaha Country Club is strictly prohibited. Police say they will enforce that. They say they'll give you a ticket or even tow your car.