Park Board, Chamber Tout Benefits Of Bringing Disc Golf To Glenwood Lake Park
An idea being pursued by the Glenwood Park Board would bring a disc golf course to Glenwood Lake Park.
The 18-hole course would be built partially along an existing trail system in the hilly area of the park behind the Mills County Historical Museum buildings and Davies Amphitheater.
Glenwood Park Board member Vanessa Covington and board chair Randy Romens discussed the proposed course earlier this summer with members of the Glenwood City Council, noting the growing popularity of the sport.
“My son is a disc golfer,” Covington said. “I like to hike the trails at the park and it all kind of came together one night. I thought we should have a disc golf course here in Glenwood. We have some great potential.
“We feel like it would be a great asset to our community. It would bring people in. Disc golfers love traveling to courses. It’s a very popular sport. It’s been around for a long time. It just keeps growing – it’s something that anyone can do. It’s just fun.”
A preliminary course design, created by Erik Tribelhorn, owner of Colorado-based Zenith Disc Golf, shows the course starting near the “horseshoe pit” area on the north side of the park and crossing the Fallon’s Creek Bridge into the “rugged hills” on the east side of the property. The first six holes would be on the extreme east side of the park. The rest of the course would weave its way along the cross country trails and grassy area behind the amphitheater and museum buildings.
“The intent is to incorporate 18 holes onto the park property, particularly in the wooded areas and the grassy area containing the cross country course,” Tribelhorn stated in his written proposal for the project. “The course would ideally begin close to the gazebo to the east of the entryway and finish somewhere near the western “bottom” of the cross country course area (near the old school house) which would bring the the course “full circle” close to hole one after the course is completed.”
Covington said construction of a disc golf course typically runs $1,500 - $1,700 per hole (including the cost of equipment). The majority of the cost would be paid for with donations and private funding.
“I don’t feel like it’s a huge cost, considering the benefits,” she said.
Romens said the park board wanted to have permission and a show of support from the city before moving forward with the project.
Mayor Ron Kohn questioned how much additional mowing and maintenance the course would create for the park staff and city administrator Amber Farnan had questions about construction costs that aren’t raised through fundraising.
“My question is where out of your budget does that money come from,” she asked. “The additional money that you don’t fundraise from?”
The park board estimates a “minimal amount” of extra mowing would be required. Romens noted that the concrete bases of the baskets are flat, meaning no trimming would be required. Covington said funds for the course were not included in the park board’s FY2024 budget because the project is still in the preliminary stages.
City council member Laurie Smithers asked if the park board had discussed the project with the school district since it involves the cross country course.
“I support taking it to the next step but my questions are the same as Ron’s and Amber’s,” she said. “I think those are the next steps. Is the school going to be, ‘Yes, we’re great with you putting it on the cross country course?’”
Romens pointed out that the property is owned by the city (not the school district) and it could be included in a user’s agreement, similar to what exists for the Lil’ Rams football field.
“Include the course in the city’s user agreement with the school district that gives the school district permission to use it on certain days,” Romens said. “It’s still city property.”
Covington added that placement of the disc golf baskets at each hole would not obstruct the cross country trails.
Smithers and fellow council member Donnie Kates both said they’ve played disc golf and are appreciative of the fact that it’s a sport that can be enjoyed by an entire family at a relatively reasonable cost. The average cost of a golf disc (Frisbee) is less than $15.
“I think it’s amazing. It is a lot like golf and one of the things I like about it – anyone that golfs knows golf isn’t cheap,” Smithers said. “So, if you have people that want to get out and have the same experience – get outside and get moving – we’ll have a healthier community.”
Kates said he’s in favor of the project but would like to see more specifics regarding costs. If the funds aren’t there initially, he suggested starting out with a 9-hole course and expanding to 18 at a later date.
The disc golf course was discussed again at the park board’s regular meeting in July. Covington stated there is strong community support for the project and it could be the right time to formally start a Glenwood Disc Golf Club.
The Mills County Chamber Of Commerce has voiced its support for the proposed project. In letter submitted to the city council in June, MCCC Executive Director Jennie Davis said the chamber believes the course could attract visitors to town and be a boost for the local business economy. Davis also stressed the potential health benefit for the Glenwood community.
“Locally, physical outdoor activities can improve the health of residents,” she said. “This disc golf location takes advantage of already-owned property and connects with other recreational activities; and this is a new and unique pursuit that can allow kids and families to spend more time in Glenwood and Mills County.”
When asked for an update on the status of the course earlier this week, Farnan said the project is still a work in progress while the park board works on getting “their ducks lined up.”
Farnan said the city hasn’t received input from the school district regarding the project. She added that a bid process for construction of the course would be a requirement for the park board.
“Even if they get donations, the money would probably flow through the city,” she said. “They would have to get at least three bids or at least show an effort that they attempted to get bids by reaching out to several different companies.”