View Full Version : Alton Baker Disc Golf Course - Public Meeting #2
February 7th, 2011, 07:28 PM
Disc Golf made the news again:) Link is below.
City of Eugene staff will be holding the second public meeting for a proposed 18-hole disc golf course in West Alton Baker Park on Wednesday evening, February 23rd from 6-8 p.m. at the Hilyard Community Center, 2580 Hilyard Street in Eugene. The current proposal will be presented along with an opportunity for further feedback.
Date: **********Wednesday, February 23rd , 6 to 8 p.m.
Location: ******Hilyard Community Center, 2580 Hilyard Street in Eugene
Agenda: ********Presentation of current Alton Baker Disc Golf Proposal
More information will be forthcoming!
February 22nd, 2011, 11:31 AM
Article about Alton Baker Disc Golf in today's Register Guard:
the meeting is tomorrow. the more people we can get to come out to this thing the better...
February 22nd, 2011, 11:38 AM
February 22nd, 2011, 12:05 PM
I know. I called them for a correction. Oh well. At least the story made it.:):yay:
February 23rd, 2011, 11:21 PM
A quick rundown of the meeting since it's still fresh on the ol' noggin.
The City of Eugene is considering the inclusion of a disc golf course at the heavily used, centrally located, Alton Baker Park in downtown Eugene. There are some stipulations though, which I will list below. Anyone else who was at this meeting please feel free to fill in the gaps...
First off, the notion of putting in a permanent disc golf course at Alton Baker Park is off the table, and here's why: The city states that Alton Baker Park's "master plan", a plan that has 3 or 4 separate projects that they want to complete sometime in the next decade or so, does not and has never included disc golf. The idea of a disc golf course (specifically at Alton Baker) has been brought to the city recently, and since they do not have the funds to complete any of the master plan projects (and will not for at least 5 years) they have decided that a 5 year "temporary" course could potentially work. Neil, our parks and rec coordinator, stated that it is completely impossible to have all of the desired projects within the master plan AND a disc golf course at the park. It would attract too many people and there is not enough space. Anyways, after that 5 year term is up, the city will re-analyze the structure and flow of the course AND the potential for the completion of their other projects. If funds are still at a loss (and if the course follows all guidelines and causes no problems) it could stay in for another 5 year term. If funds are bountiful, the city will pull the course (regardless of how well it works) to complete the parks master plan. In a nutshell, the city is being "nice" enough to temporarily grant us land to use as a disc golf course.
Since this is now a "temporary" plan, there are less hoops to jump through (ie: greenway project, biologists, archeologists etc). Now all we need is for the city to look at the land to make sure that it is officially usable. what that exactly means i'm not too sure. BUT, if they do deem it usable for disc golf (which it sounded to me like they will), the first major step to getting this thing put in will be out of the way.
Secondly (and this could use some further explaining from someone else): The city is requesting (actually, demanding) that a "concessionaire/groundskeeper" be on duty at all times when the course is playable/open. The course will be pay to play (to limit and regulate who plays there) and it will be this persons duty to receive funds (that i believe they get to keep), maintain the course when maintenance is needed, and sell discs and what not at the club house (which i also believe they will profit from). Who will do this will be determined/hired by the city through an interviewing process. anyone want a job? :eek:
All of the things listed in the paragraph above ARE REQUIRED for this course to happen. Neil specifically stated that the only way we could get around this whole "concessionaire/groundskeeper" thing is if someone proposes another way to regulate the course. The city has NO money whatsoever to do so, and they will not allow the course if no one maintains it and makes sure that people don't just show up in masses and go willy nilly. Anyone got any other suggestions?
Other notes: When these two things are determined, a course layout will be decided upon by local clubs, the course manager (concessionaire), and eventually the city. Parts of the course will be closed when there are events in and around the park. The course will be reviewed and analyzed on a yearly basis to make sure all of these things are being followed and that there are no problems. And last but not least, the course will only be open during a certain number of hours a day. This will probably be either up to the groundskeeper (or from sun up to sundown, if that works out somehow).
Neil has requested that ANY AND ALL COMMENTS about the structure and implementation of the course need to be submitted online to be reviewed. He was very adamant about this and said that ALL COMMENTS will be reviewed and used in making their final project draft.
You can submit your comments here (http://www.eugene-or.gov/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=217&PageID=4296&cached=true&mode=2&userID=2).
If all of these things happen, this course could be put in the ground as soon as this summer. Rubber tee pads and club baskets will be used as well as signs directing traffic AND a concession stand for the lucky duck that gets to run this thing.
i think that's basically it.
i need a beer. :chug:
February 24th, 2011, 04:11 AM
Love it . . 'nuff said for someone that doesn't live close enough to be the lucky consessionaire-thingy-ma-do-hopper :wink2:
February 24th, 2011, 08:27 AM
I get the impression that the folks at the city are somewhat unfamiliar with how disc golfers use the space they are allowed to play in. If they are concerned about littering and what-not, "normal" park users should be just as worrisome. I mean, the point of park space is to show up in masses and go "willy-nilly"...right?
Maybe the club knows a land use girl who can help you submit an application for an amendment to the master plan. That process is time consuming, but it appears that you have potentially five years to get it submitted.
I think the groundskeeper job should be awarded to Frog.
February 24th, 2011, 10:25 AM
I think the city could (or would) provide the baskets (from the Laurelwood course) and may recycle some astroturf for teepads from one of the local schools that is getting new astroturf field materials. Signage would be an expense.
In Golden gate park they have little signs along the running paths that say something like---- Disc Golf course- be aware of flying discs. You would need a rules sign as well as the tee signs and next tee signs. Alcohol will also be a big issue since it isn't allowed in the park without a specific permit. Mowing would add to the expense of running the course.http://www.flickr.com/photos/59930395@N07/?saved=1http://www.flickr.com/photos/59930395@N07/?saved=1
"Over the Hill" Bob
February 24th, 2011, 10:27 AM
You gotta know when to hold em, you gotta know when to fold em.
February 24th, 2011, 11:38 AM
I think Will has summarized the meeting pretty well. There were a few things I came away with that I think are worth focusing on.
The "temporary" five-year permit aspect is intended to make the process easier and more likely to happen, and if things go well the permit could very well be renewed, and more than once. The Master Plan is NOT going to change, no matter how we might want it to, or how popular or well liked the course turns out to be. Trying to get the Master Plan changed would likely delay the process a long, long time and make it even more difficult.
The City of Eugene is dead-ass broke, and the Parks dept. is running a $1million deficit every year on maintenance and improvements. It's an unfortunate time to try and add something to the park system. That's just reality, and it's not going to change anytime soon, and that is what we will be working with. In light of that, the fact that we are this far along in the process of adding a disc golf course is really great, and speaks to the years of effort and hard work by disc golfers, the EDGC, and the parks and planning staff.
I got the impression that the most important thing for the Parks dept. was that the course be "maintenance-neutral" in terms of money spent and the current budget. NOT necessarily that it has to be pay-to-play. When the question was asked "What happens if no one submits a proposal to run a pay-to-play course?" the response was that the City would look at any proposal from a commununity group or other third party and would consider other scenarios. The key here is that a "third-party", a vendor, a group, a club is responsible for the costs of installing and maintaining the course.
Although there was some discussion that part of a vendor's responsibility would be to make sure things are running smoothly with the rest of the park users, I did not get the idea that the City expects the third-party managing the course to be some sort of behavior police. After all, the Oregon Track Club is not responsible for the conduct of runners, the G.E.A.R.S. group does not have to police the bike trail, etc. It would be VERY hard for anyone to make the case that a vendor or other third party would be liable for the behavior of people in a public park, even if they paid to use a park facility.
The main thing that is driving the "pay-to-play" concept is that the City has no money for the course and they need to find a way to have the course meet the overwhelming demand without adding to the budget. Somehow, the concept of "pay-to-play" floated up and has been latched onto as a solution. Personally, I just don't think the business model for that at Alton Baker seems likely. Maybe if the vendor is allowed to sell concessions to all park users, soda, water, food, as well as discs and collect fees it MIGHT pencil out. But how do you keep the course staffed during all daylight hours? How do you "close" a course when the park is still open and there is no fence around the course? How do one or two or even three people stop players from accessing the course at any point? The profit margin seems awfully thin to me, maybe I'm being cynical but I just don't see it.
The City does not want to make money from the course as far as I can tell. (And if they did, the profit margin for a vendor just disappeared) They want to NOT SPEND money. So what would that take? They have the baskets in storage and at the meeting they committed to giving them to the course. So you need the material to anchor the baskets. Tee-pads are going to be of the rubber variety, so there's 18 (or more, if you want beginner pads) tee pads plus the materials to install them. Signs, plus posts and the materials to install them. Extra park signage alerting and educating all park users about disc golf and the presence of the course. Benches would be nice.
What's all that cost? Sounds like a fundraising campaign, five fundraiser tournaments, a donation box, business sponsorships, league night fees, and some ongoing fundraising through the years.
What else would it take in terms of time and labor? How many work parties would it take to spread woodchips and trim branches and generally tidy up? Let's say 6-10 a year. The City committed at the meeting to continue the same amount of mowing as previously, 1-3 times a year. Not enough. If they would allow an indpendent operator to mow with a tractor in the park another 3 times a year it seems like it would be handled. That would cost several hundred a year. Seems do-able. What about trash? That seems like a bit of a sticking point. If you don't put cans out, the douchebags litter everywhere. If you do put cans out, they quickly overfill or get rummaged through by "other park users" looking for deposit money. Let's say you put some cans out and at a minimum the City provides a place to dumpster the trash and remove it. Seems reasonable.
So a "vendor" operating a pay-to-play course would have to foot all these expenses, including the ongoing maintenance, as a business with at least two employees, and make enough profit from a fee low enough to attract players and maybe concession sales if they are allowed. Or a "third-party" could make a proposal and sign an agreement if the proposal was accepted, and do the necessary fundraising over time, ie: install the baskets, do the ongoing maintenance as volunteers, and raise funds for the amenities over the next year or two. The course would be "maintenance-neutral" to the City budget, but it would not have all the headaches and high chance of failure that a pay to play vendor would have.
My issue with a pay-to-play course at Alton Baker is not the player fees. Personally, I can probably afford it since I can afford the gas to drive to Dexter and Cottage Grove. I'd probably even buy a pass if offered. I just think it doesn't pencil out as a business, and I think a failed business leads to the course potentially going away. This is NOT Morely Field, as many times as people point to that model, it's just not. It is a good course, in a great location, in a city with poor options for nearby disc golf. It's a course that could be very fun for beginners and families, especially with shorter pads on some holes. And it will still be a very fun course for experienced players.
Obviously, I thought about this a little after the meeting. :) I'm going to support whatever happens, and I thank all the people who have done the heavy lifting at Alton Baker - I'm looking at you Andrew - the disc golfers and the City staff. We're close to having a course there if things go well. I hope a vendor steps up and can make it work. If not, or maybe even if there is a vendor ready to take it on, it would be a good idea for us to have a proposal ready to run it as a club (EDGC or U of O, or both).
February 24th, 2011, 12:18 PM
Well put Matt, I agree with your post and also appreciated your letter in the RG today. It would shock me if a vendor would want to sign on unless they could sell stuff to the general and specific public. I think our club could do a good job maintaining the course but policing the public is a stretch. Signage would be critical, and I don't mean just a couple of "look out for disc signs". Rules and etiquette signs are must have's. Sanfransisco did a fair job with their warning signs, and they had a lot of them on the trails...
February 24th, 2011, 12:19 PM
February 24th, 2011, 01:12 PM
My first thought was that someone was taking a snow day and the kid was napping and the keyboard was clackin'. Second thought, words produced by said keyboard taps offer insight and ask the right questions.
More thoughts . . . developing a business plan will be problematical given the lack of pay-to-play models. OTOH, savy speculators would be attracted to the growth, but anyone who takes this on should be prepared to lose money in year one.
I would be very surprised if the city did not ask for some type of rent, since they're providing land, baskets, and tee-pad astroturf. I've heard the $500/month figure kicked around, plus some override on windfall profits.
While I know that people have expressed strong interest in pursuing this potential 'dream job,' I can't think of a single person with the money, time, business savy/relationships, landscaping experience/equipment, and all the other requisite skills. I can think of several sets of three or four people who could team up to cover these bases. But will they?
Once the city actually publishes a Request for Proposal for the concessionaire, the real games will begin.
February 24th, 2011, 01:12 PM
Matt's letter to the Register-Guard is at the bottom of this page: http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/opinion/25670164-47/eugene-disc-growth-golf-course.csp
February 24th, 2011, 02:18 PM
I don't have a lot to add here as I am not intimately familiar with the history and the ongoing processes/proposals, however, I would like to say "thank you" to Wilbur, Matt, Andrew, Rebecca, the edgc, and anyone else involved in this endeavor. :bowing:
February 24th, 2011, 03:56 PM
I would personally like to thank all the disc golfers that attended the meeting last night.
Everyone was very respectful, minus a few, and asked very intelligent questions.
Matt-- great letter to the editor. Very well thought out and written and to the point with many great facts to back it up.
I have always been proud to be President of the Eugene Disc Golf Club but after the meeting last night I became very proud. I was told by four different people they knew which group was the EDGC because of etiquette and respect we had for the speaker. It shows what a great group we are.
Alton Baker will become a reality once we get over the first few stepping stones. Even if it's temporary, we will have a course and we will be able to show the community that disc golf does mesh well with other recreational activities in the same park.
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