City shuts down course
City shuts down disc golf course
Because of the behavior of just a few players, the disc golf course at Dean Melton Fillmore Park has been shut down – for good.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
Because of the behavior of just a few players, the disc golf course at Dean Melton Fillmore Park has been shut down – for good. The course was opened in June of 1997 and unfortunately, there have been numerous issues since then. According to Alexandria Parks Director Bill Thoennes, most of the players who used the course at the city-owned park were good and didn't cause any problems. However, he said there were a few who would not play the course the way it was designed, which ultimately, caused its demise.
Thoennes said the Frisbee-like discs were flying into the yards of residents who live adjacent to the park and there were reports of some players being rude to the homeowners.
He said there were reports of property damage from residents who live near the park, as well.
"It was getting used a lot, but a select few ruined it and wouldn't play it the way they were supposed to," said Thoennes.
Trevor Shatek, a long-time user of the park and local resident who voluntarily took on the role of expanding and improving the park, said, "The worst part is, I have to agree with Bill."
Shatek said there were probably 1,000 people who used the park and maybe five who caused problems. "The vast majority of the people were really good," he said sadly. Shatek, who is disappointed in the closing of the park, has invested a lot into it – not only his time, but funds as well. A few years back, he spearheaded a fundraising effort to purchase new materials for the course – a total of $4,000 was raised. That effort now means nothing, he said.
The course was shut down in early October. Thoennes said everything was pulled out and put into storage. He noted that there is a possibility of opening a new disc golf course in the future; maybe at a county park. However, nothing has been set in stone. Shatek said he doesn't want to argue with Thoennes and feels that Dean Melton Fillmore Park isn't the right place either. However, he feels that if a course is opened again, it should be somewhere within the city limits of Alexandria so that it's easily accessible. One option that Shatek heard about is putting the course at Kensington Runestone Park. He doesn't feel this is a good option because there are many people who play the game who are not old enough to drive.
"How many 13-year-olds can ride their bike out to Kensington Runestone Park?" he asked.
Shatek added, "A lot of people are not happy about this, but people don't know what to do about it."
He believes there is one park located within city limits that would work great – the Pooch Playland Park, which is located on Lake Connie, just off of Victor Street near Windmill Ponds. The 150-foot by 330-foot fenced-in dog park sits on 21 acres of city-owned land. Shatek said he heard that the city doesn't want to have the disc golf park at that location because the city wants to keep it a "serene park." "We don't need another serene park in Alexandria," he stated. He added that the park has enough space for both the dog park and a disc golf course, and that he already has 20 different designs that could be used. Thoennes, however, said the Pooch Playland area is not being considered at this time. He's not sure what the city wants to do with that park, but putting a disc golf course on it is not in the plans.
"There are no plans right now to put the [disc golf] park within city limits," said Thoennes.
Disc golf is a sport that was played year-round, according to Shatek. He said that each year, an annual event was held this time of year – the Alexandria Ice Bowl. It's unfortunate, he said, that the event won't be happening this year. The closest place for anyone to play disc golf, now, Shatek said, is in St. Cloud, which has seven courses. "We now have none," he said. "And that's a shame."
(P.S.: story first posted on the Minnesota Frisbee Association site: http://mnfrisbee.ning.com/forum/topi...ria-shuts-down)
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