Disc Golf proposal formalized to panel

Those thinking about playing nine holes some evening might have another option in Warren soon.

At its Tuesday evening meeting, the City of Warren Parks and Recreation Commission heard a second, more formal proposal for a disc golf course at Washington Park.

Disc golfer Rob Baker proposed an 18-hole course using about two acres of the 65-acre park that are not heavily utilized now.

Although he suggested cutting out some underbrush, the course would not require cutting down trees or clearing large spaces.

He also said disc golfers travel an hour or more to participate in their chosen sport.

“If you build this, people will come,” Baker said. “You’re going to get a lot of out-of-towners.”

He provided cost proposals for several possible levels of course. A basic course could be set up using volunteer labor for as little as $5,000, while a course including removable pole holes, concrete tee pads, tee signs, message boards, and trash cans for all 18 holes with paid installation could cost up to $14,654.

Some funding options discussed at the meeting included grants, private donations, and sponsorships.

Baker thanked La Vogue Beauty Salon for donating the time and materials in the informational packets.

Washington Park is the right location for several reasons, according to Baker.

The terrain is not suited to many types of developed recreation. But it is ideal for disc golf.

“The terrain up there is beautiful,” Baker said. “It’s picture perfect.”

Disc golf is not a sport of flat, perfectly maintained fairways and greens. Trees, rocks, and hills add difficulty and interest to a disc golf course. “Some of the best holes” make golfers work around nature, Baker said.

Very little would have to be done to the terrain at Washington Park to make it suitable to the game.

“I think I can get 18 holes in with the logging (roads) that are there,” Baker said. “This could be installed cheap, low maintenance.”

Commission members agreed that they would like to see more people using the park.

“I’ve always had a passion for that park,” Mike Suppa said. “Most cities would die for a park like that.”

The course would likely bring many more people to the park, increasing the number of visitors who can appreciate the surroundings and the overlook of the city.

Commission members think increasing traffic and generating a course users will take ownership of could cut down on vandalism and other undesirable activities there.

“At the skate park, we were concerned about” an increase in vandalism, Chairman Dennis Crandall said. “The skaters started policing themselves.”

Washington Park does have some drawbacks. Commission members are concerned about the state of the access road to the park. Also, there is not enough parking for major events there.

City administrator Mary Ann Nau asked if a professional designer would be needed for the course.

Baker said a designer would benefit the course, but is not expressly required.

Disc golf is not an expensive nor necessarily a physically demanding activity, but it is a healthy one and a good way to get families together outdoors, Baker said.

It is also a potential economic boon.

“I think the way to bring people to the community is to continue to have recreational opportunities like this,” city administrator Mary Ann Nau said.

Pool

A possible agreement between the city and the Warren YMCA to manage the city pool is moving forward. The commission heard additional details about the proposed agreement.

“The gate fees will increase,” City Manager Nancy Freenock said. Pool passes will be separate from YMCA membership although pool patrons could be invited to use the YMCA pool on rainy days when there is no programming scheduled inside.

The YMCA does not plan on any programming at the city pool, but will hold some special events and will allow private parties, Freenock said. The organization is considering bringing back a snack bar to replace existing vending machines.

Because life guards for both pools would be YMCA employees, there would be a larger group to help make sure guard coverage is provided at all times. An on-call system has also been proposed.

The city would pay for a guard suit for each guard and would pay a management fee and reimburse the YMCA for payroll.

Freenock expect the issue to come before City Council on Monday, April 21.

Docks

Representatives of Leadership Warren County introduced their idea for a floating dock along the north side of the Allegheny River in the downtown area.

“The objective was to bring more business to the downtown,” Mary Hagan-Double said.

“I think it’s a wonderful project,” commission member Judi Wilson said.

The dock project would include a walkway from the dock to the top of the river bank.

That path could be an erosion concern and commission members asked the class members to meet with city arborist Tom Frair.