This was a great experience! Hearing a representative of the City of Eugene parks planning staff acknowledge that there is clearly a need to provide more disc golf courses in Eugene was music to the groups ears. This meeting was not a referendum or show of force to convince the City to install a course, it was the City laying out their proposal for the course and the process by which it would be established. All Alton Baker Park user groups were invited, but only disc golfers showed up. When asked for a show of hands of disc golfers, basically the whole room raised its hands. When asked if anyone there was NOT a disc golfer, one woman raised her hand. Neil (parks planner) asked her what her affiliation with the park was and she said "My son and husband are disc golfers".
Neil told me he'd probably have to hold another meeting so that other parks users had another opportunity.
In a nutshell, the City wants to provide disc golfers with more courses and has identified a portion of West Alton Baker park as the best site due to adequate parking, usable space, bathrooms, and lack of sensitive habitat, as well as some variety in terrain, trees, etc. The area of the course proposal is essentially the same as the course that Andrew and others laid out and that we played for the tournaments this past year. It's roughly 20 acres, which is doable but a tight squeeze for 18 holes. The City is definitely interested in input from the dg community on the design, and is also considering having the course designed by a designer.
The potential course does not need voter approval but there will be a period of public comment. Neil indicated that he did not feel that any challenge or objections would be sustainable based on the criteria of the process and that any snags along the way could be dealt with and would likely only result in a short delay at worst. The timeline seems to be late summer at the earliest, a year and a half in the worst case scenario.
Funding, operations, maintenance are the big unknowns. The City is experiencing major financial cutbacks including elimination of whole programs and probably job cutbacks coming up. Not the best time to be establishing something new but we have several factors on our side, especially that the City already has baskets and that we have a large and willing volunteer group to install and maintain the course. However, the course may be a pay-to-play course run by a contractor who would win a contract through a Request-for-Proposal process. I think the City planners are considering this option as a way to counter the financial shortfalls in the budget. Pay to play is just an option at this point, nothing is set in stone.
This meeting was the first public rollout of the concept of the course being at Alton Baker, and there is more work and many decisions to be made.
That's it in a nutshell. Very good news overall for DG in Eugene! If you haven't taken this survey http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/H2DPPPZ
please do so. You do not have to take it more than once, it's not a show of people who want a course - they already want to give us one! You can also learn more about the proposal by going to www.eugene-or.gov/discgolf
. For more information about the meeting or the process, please contact Parks and Open Space Planning Manager Neil Björklund at 541-6582-4909 or email@example.com