The Fennimore Common Council unanimously approved the site plan for a disc golf course at Oakwood Nature Park during a meeting Monday evening, Sept. 10.
“We think it is a pretty exciting project for the city and college to enter into together,” Southwest Wisconsin Technical College President Duane Ford said. “The current status of the planning is we assembled a team of volunteers, [Director of Public Works] John Murphy, and a bunch people that play a lot of disc golf.”
Ford informed the council that initial layout has been completed, bids have been collected for equipment and initial fundraising has started.
With the council’s approval Monday evening, the project can continue to move forward.
“The college plans to order baskets. That is about an $8,000 investment,” Ford said. “That comes from the students, the students have agreed to ante up that money out of their student fees to support the endeavor.
“The next step is we will finalize the course design, and order the baskets and hardware.”
Fennimore Lumber and Jim’s Building Center have donated their time and resources to install the 18 posts that will mark the beginning of each hole of the course.
Among the volunteers to help design the course was an avid disc golf player who has played over 200 courses in his lifetime and designed two.
“We tried to lay out a course that wouldn’t interfere with other uses for the park,” Ford said. “We didn’t want too much overlap between the walking trail and the sight lines for the discs.
“We are pretty confident the nature preserve will maintain its use and will incorporate with the walking trails and disc golf course.”
The course is designed to be certified by the Professional Disc Golf Association (PDGA). PDGA certification will allow for tournament play at the course.
Ford is no stranger to disc golf himself. He has played disc golf courses in Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Iowa and “all over the place.”
In the area, there is one disc golf course in Dubuque and two courses in Platteville. There is also a course in La Crosse and several in Madison.
“I can guarantee you that the disc golf players in Dubuque and Platteville, with only three courses to choose from, will be looking for other opportunities to come play,” Ford said.
The first known account of anyone playing disc golf took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1926, according to the PDGA website. A group of school age kids played a game with tin lids, which they dubbed Tin Lid Golf.
Alderperson Greg Fry asked what maintenance costs will be incurred as a result of the ongoing maintenance of the course, which the city will be responsible for.
“I’m just trying to get a ballpark idea of what this cost is going to be,” Fry said. “My son Gabe was on the committee and my wife and I have agreed to sponsor one of the holes. I’m not totally against it, but I need to understand the costs initially and down the road. Do we know what those are, or do we have some kind of feeling for what they are?”
“I don’t know what the long-term maintenance is,” Ford replied. “To answer your question, we haven’t done a long-range, over 15 to 20 year projection of annual costs.”
Murphy estimates it will take approximately six hours labor to mow the disc golf course.
“We are not going to be making a special trip out there,” Murphy said. “We mow those paths with a lawn mower, so we are out there already.”
The city will be responsible for “ongoing maintenance” of the disc golf course.
While she understands the costs to the city, alderperson Linda Stephenson said she believes the disc golf course could be a great opportunity for Fennimore.
“I look at the long-term, down the road, and you start bringing people in to golf out there, and there are people that haven’t been exposed to Fennimore,” Stephenson said. “They are going to see Southwest Tech and hopefully they will come into town.
“That could possibly bring in someone who wants to start a business here and to me, that opens up a lot of opportunity.”
Murphy echoed Stephenson’s comments.
“I think it is going to be a huge asset to the City of Fennimore,” Murphy said. “I think you are going to bring a lot of people in that have not been to Fennimore because of the fact we got this disc golf.”
The SWTC student senate approved the funding for the disc golf course. The progress made will soon be reported to the student senate, Ford noted.
“We think it will be a great thing for our college students, for the local population and frankly, it will draw people from out of town to come here and play,” Ford said.
In other action, the council:
• approved the closing of Sixth Street between Lincoln Avenue and Madison Street for Fennimore’s annual Heritage Day festivities.
Sixth Street will be closed Sunday, Sept. 30 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Adjacent property owners Mr. and Mrs. Carl Zaluski, and Mrs. Diane Turtenwald approved the closing of the street.
• approved a facility use agreement with Wyalusing Academy. Per the agreement, Fennimore’s Memorial Building will be made available to Wyalusing Academy in the event of a disaster or need to evacuate the academy’s facilities in Prairie du Chien.
“This is modeled after an agreement we have with the school district,” City Clerk Margaret Sprague said.
• tabled action to determine the placement of playground equipment at Foxmoor Park.
Murphy told the council the plan was to dig the area this month and place the playground equipment this fall.
Concerned neighbors of the park have contacted multiple alderpersons to express their concerns with the placement.
“No matter where you place it, someone isn’t going to be happy with it,” Mayor Charles Stenner said.
Alderperson Mark Schoepp expressed an interest in visiting Foxmoor Park as a council to survey the situation. The council will meet at 6 p.m. on Sept. 24 at the park.