Riverside trustees approved funding for a disc golf course in the wooded area of Indian Gardens south of Fairbank Road at the village’s board meeting.
With last week’s approval, the board of trustees also asked the Parks & Recreation department to continue dialogue with the public and the board.
Just last month, the board failed to reach a consensus in authorizing the expenditure to purchase the equipment after the controversial project brought mixed reactions from Riverside residents. Those opposing the project have brought up safety concerns, increased traffic to the area, noise pollution and aesthetic concerns. Those who support it say it is a great physical activity for all ages, increases time spent outdoors and requires minimum equipment.
In early September, Parks and Recreation Director Ron Malchiodi presented an initial layout proposal, which he said is the result of “an in-depth” review that incorporated resident feedback and recommendations by a 25-member committee, mostly of Riverside residents, assigned to this project.
Half a dozen unconvinced residents expressed their concerns to the board with the proposal on citing safety and noise concerns, among others. Two residents suggested placing the disc golf course in alternative locations. These locations, they said, could conflict with people who enjoy more passive forms of recreation, such as walking.
Resident Melinda Pruett-Jones, who lives directly across from the proposed golf course location, said there are still many concerns that need to be addressed. The Parks and Recreation department has not engaged all residents who live near the proposed golf course, she said. She also questioned the golf-hole placement, saying that they will be placed too close to residents’ homes based on temporary stakes installed to design the layout.
“We have two targets that are included directly across our house and we can see both targets from all of our front windows on both floors. The target closest to our house is 95 feet from our lap line and it’s 130 feet from our actual house,” she said.
Another resident questioned whether the disc golf course will be covered under the village’s insurance plan. Village Manager Jessica Frances said it has been reviewed and it would not bring an additional liability or change insurance costs.
Ultimately, all trustees approved the purchase of baskets, poles and discs for the course. The project will cost no more than $12,000, according to information provided by the parks and recreation department.
Malchiodi addressed other resident concerns, saying the disc golf “is not an either-or proposition.” Maintenance and other projects by the parks department will not be neglected or replaced by this project, he said.
He also explained the baskets needed to play disc golf will be mounted to concrete footings dug on the ground. He added the baskets will be painted in green or brown powder coating for aesthetics and durability. Late last month, the committee set up temporary stakes at the park to map out an initial layout of where the baskets will be mounted, though it is still subject to change. Other stakes indicate where the tee box will be located. The tee boxes will be marked by five pavers installed on the ground to form a line, with an additional paver indicating the hole number and direction. They will not be highly visible, Malchiodi added.
The disc golf course could be installed next spring. The 25-person local committee reviewing the proposal will continue to review the layout and hole locations over the fall.
While a layout proposal was presented, there is still time to make adjustments based on resident feedback, said Malchiodi. The current proposed layout includes nine holes, but it appears the number of holes could be reduced to six.
“I think it’s very important that the Parks and Rec board continue a dialogue with the village board on a periodic basis before installation,” said Village President Joseph Ballerine.
All trustees said they agreed with authorizing the purchase of equipment, with a final layout to come.
“I think the concerns that were raised about the active and passive commingled activities is one that should be further considered, but I do not have an objection to extending the funds for nine baskets even if we only ended up with a six-basket course,” said Trustee Aberdeen Marsh-Ozga.
To learn more about the golf disc project, visit the Riverside Park and Recreations Frequently Asked Questions website.