May 31, 2009

It is time to say NO to disc golf in Leddy Park.

Dear Councilors,

As a disc golfer I am very concerned by the recent vote by the Parks Commission to give btown disc golf 9 hole course consideration in Leddy Park. Immediately following thie vote, Btown president Brenden Bush stated publicly to the media that his group intends to use any Leddy 9 hole course to recruit and lobby for 18 holes at Leddy. See Shay Totten's 7 Days blog. I believe this is subversion of the process. It is time for the city to say no to disc golf in Leddy Park so that this group and the city can move on. It would be nice if the city could have a disc golf course, but not at the high price of sacrificing the current and future uses that Leddy offers to a wide variety of residents and visitors rather than a large scale single use game.

Also, to Wayne Gross' credit, after studying the issues from both sides and listening to public comment, he reversed his initial 'yes' reccomendation to 'no', not an easy administrative decision, and advised the commission to vote against any disc golf in Leddy. Save for Dave Hartnett, who voted no, the commission ignored Gross' reccomendation and went ahead with a 'no' to 18 but 'yes' to 9, thereby re-opening for btown this whole issue. Had the commission said no to Leddy, but yes to disc golf in Burlington if there is a place, we would be moving on and already looking at alternatives if there are any.

As a disc golfer who has walked the landfill with Dave Brezniak, I believe the landfill represents an excellent and unique 18 hole course opportunity. Galvanized steel washbasins can be filled with concrete for basket stands and be placed on top of the clay cap without piercing it. The fairways can be mowed and roughs allowed to grow. There are also approximately 3-4 acres of dry wooded potential holes between the landfill and 127 beltline. Dave and I agreed that with the woods the site is probably between 10 to 15 acres. Play can start early in the spring once the landfill dries off giving residents an early opportunity for exercise even before the bike path ice melts.

I don't believe the site can be used for much else given its contour and brown site status. Now, wind and elevation, and not just trees become challenges for the player requiring up, down, and sideways throws. The wooded holes will provide needed player respite on hot sunny days. Wooden blinds on feet can also be erected to make holes more challenging. A few portopotties and picnic tables can be installed courtesy of btown. Parks and btown and professional disc golf association websites can tell people that parking is severely limited and encourage people to ride bikes, buses, or walk to the course, which adjoins a remote section of the bikepath. This puts a natural damper on potentially high levels of activity so that the city can gauge the course without the course being overwhelming or problematic. If there are problems, the course can be removed from the landfill much more easily than after cutting holes thru Leddy Park. Old north end eateries and grocery stores might also profit. Steve Goodkind also said recently at NPA and DPW meetings that he did not see a problem with using the landfill for this purpose.

For these reasons, please consider Russ Ellis' resolution to stop Leddy Park disc golf and thank you for all your hard work and attention in this matter.

Seth Sherman