from JULY 08 MINUTES, Parks Commission:
VIIB. Consideration of Proposal for Disc Golf Course Development
Whalen explained that other groups had come to him in the past and that the current group has definitely been the most persistent, committed and organized. He recommended that the Commission give conceptual approval of the proposal so that the club members can continue to develop details of the proposal and plan fundraising and implementation strategies.
The club members then introduced themselves and explained that disc golf has been around for 40 years, serves several different age populations and is a lot like golf but is played in natural areas. In addition the club explained that the sport offers healthy benefits for players as well as benefits to the community. The location is proposed at Leddy and will currently occupy space that is not utilized. The club proposes to use existing pathways where possible and generally only remove underbrush and saplings.
The club stated that they had hundreds of people interested in this project and have formed a non-profit and intend to raise $10,000. They said they were asking for approval of the project, but would appreciate input from the Commission and Department.
Hanson asked how this would affect people walking on the trails at Leddy and if a fee would be charged for players and was assured that people playing golf would not be directly on the trail but off the path and will also have out of bounds areas as well and there would be no fee to the City with the exception of some trash receptacles.
Ewing asked if there would need to be a lot of clearing of trees and was told very little and Nolfi asked if there were a lot of open spots and was told no as well.
Some concerns were raised about possible vandalism to the proposed project as well as some concern about college students and alcohol use/abuse and the club indicated that this has not been a problem at other facilities and they do not anticipate any at this location but would be mindful of these issues.
Allen asked if any neighborhood outreach has happened yet and also was concerned with too much signage and was told that they are currently in the process of doing some outreach and the signage would be minimal and they wanted to get further approval from the Commission before moving further.
Motion to approve the concept for a disc golf course. Hanson/Ewing. Motion carried.
The July '08 Parks Commission minutes are what Dave Hartnett recollected when he spoke at our February NPA meeting. His report is confirmed by the PC minutes.
Some key points:
* "continue to develop details of the proposal and plan fundraising and implementation strategies" is NOT permission to start cutting trees to build the course!
* Passive recreation areas with trails (existing pathways) is not "space that is not utilized." "Hanson asked how this would affect people walking on the trails at Leddy" ?
* Friends of Leddy Park also has "hundreds of people interested in this project" -- opposed to it, that is, and they are taxpayers. Allen asks "if any neighborhood outreach has happened yet' and he is told by the disc golf club members that they are "currently in the process of doing some outreach." ??? People in the neighborhood learned of the project when trees were being clearcut in the park.
* Whalen recommended that the Commission give conceptual approval of the proposal so that the club members can continue to develop details of the proposal and plan fundraising and implementation strategies. Disc Golf Club members say they are asking for approval of the project, but would appreciate input. The commission gave good input, and voted to approve the concept. That was not permission to cut trees and begin construction.
* Ewing asks if there will be "a lot of clearing of trees and was told [no] very little" -- "generally only remove underbrush and saplings city proceeded to clear cut swaths for fairways." City proceeded to clearcut swaths for disc golf course fairways.
* Concerns about alcohol use/abuse-- this has not been a problem at other facilities -- a boldfaced lie. It is a common problem, as a simple internet search will confirm.
Well, it's easy to see that there was a disconnect between Parks Dept actions and Park Commission approval of concept. Dave said he expected club members would follow up on things like outreach to neighborhoods, and come back to discuss it further.
After reading these minutes, I think Parks Commission should have put a stop to this project immediately and required the disc golf club to begin the process anew. I think that anything other than that now is unacceptible.
Abbi sent the following instructions to the Working Group, including the disc golf technical advisors in the group: "I believe we can be successful in completing our stated goal of making recommendations to the Parks n Rec Commission." That is a classic case of the tail wagging the dog! Who's in charge here, anyway? Isn't the Parks Commission supposed to make decisions and recommendations to the Parks Dept?
Abbi also instructs the group regarding the outcome of their work, which was supposedly to evaluate information and vote "yes," "yes with recommendations," or "no" on construction of a dis golf course in Leddy Park:" I believe we can agree on some recommendations about how a project like this should be implemented," she writes. Source document: http://protectleddypark.blogspot.com/
Ward 4, NPA Steering Committee