BAXTER — Is Whipple Beach Park the best site in the city for a disc golf course?
That was a question before Baxter City Council members Wednesday. With numerous questions remaining and a potential for the disc golf course to be at the Northland Arboretum, council members voted 4-1 to wait to consider the matter. Council member Jim Klein voted against.
Klein said adding a disc golf course to an undeveloped area of the park would remove dead trees and shrubs without damaging the park. Disc golf utilizes a Frisbee-like disc for its play. The course organizers submitted a detailed report to the city complete with estimated course traffic and the growth of the activity.
Greg Fagereng, Fly-By Disc Golf League president, reported there are more than 3,300 disc golf courses in the country and 180 in Minnesota.
There is a course at Lum Park in Brainerd. Fagereng said one is proposed for Central Lakes College for spring installation. Fagereng described the course as a healthy, low cost outdoor activity with a wide appeal. Council members agreed the idea was a good one.
“I’m torn. I think it’s a great idea. I just don’t know how many we need,” said Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson.
Olson wondered what the saturation point may be and said he didn’t want to do anything that could harm Whipple Beach, which serves as a crown jewel for the city.
“I don’t want to do anything to hurt that,” Olson said. “I’m not saying this would, but I don’t know enough about it whether it would or not.”
For the majority of the council, there were too many unanswered questions to move forward Wednesday.
Bill Deblon, community development director, said the proposed course had a tighter fit at Whipple and course planners also were considering the Arb, which provides a wider area to launch the disc.
Parking was a question for the council at the Whipple location. Staff recommended slowing down and taking more time to look at the proposal before reaching a decision.
Klein said the parks and recreation commission suggested Whipple Beach Park for the course.
Gladys Peterson, parks commission chairperson, said the disc golf was a tremendous idea and a way for children to stay active.
While Whipple Beach was a good location, Peterson said the Arb may be better. Peterson said expanding the Whipple Beach parking area has an estimated price tag of $150,000 to $200,000.
With no information yet on the Arb location, Peterson agreed with waiting to hear those results first.
Council member Todd Holman said the disc golf concept was an opportunity but he wondered if Whipple Beach was the right site and how it fit into the city’s overall park system.
Council member Mark Cross said he thought disc golf was compatible with other park uses, but wanted to see the results from the Arb first.
RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or firstname.lastname@example.org.