Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Disc golf course a great addition to Streator

THE ISSUE: Streator's disc golf course almost ready for play

OUR VIEW: Congrats to all those who made this project happen

Less than a year ago, two students set out to bring a new recreational amenity to Streator.

Illinois Valley Community College students Adam Chismar and Jesse Spraggon made a proposal in October to the Streator Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition about adding a disc golf course at Marilla Park. They came armed with 80 signatures from people who backed their cause.

Streator Mayor Jimmie Lansford also was at the meeting, and said he's been waiting for this idea to surface for two years. But given today's economic climate, it really wasn't feasible for the city to fund a course at an estimated $300 per hole.

But the students got the right people's attention. The wheels were soon set in motion and the idea made its way to the City Council.

"I feel the project has merit," Lansford said at the time. "I think it's another form of activity at a low cost that can be used by anyone. If this is something the council feels we should pursue, our next action will be to figure out where it should go."

After a series of meetings, the course was set to be constructed at Marilla Park.

Disc golf is a popular activity in Ottawa, Pontiac and Normal, as well as IVCC, where Chismar and Spraggon developed an affection.

"It'd be nice to have one a little closer," said Spraggon. "It's pretty inexpensive and it can be a challenging or fun game to play. All you need is a (flying disc)."

The students consulted a course designer, and the anti-drug coalition also hopped on board with fundraising efforts.

We were happy to report last week the disc golf course soon will be a reality in Streator.

A group of volunteers headed by Chismar and Spraggon recently installed 18 baskets spanning 6,000 feet of Marilla Park, making the course playable but not necessarily ready.

The Coalition funded the estimated $9,000 project.

"We played on it (Monday)," Chismar said last week. "Anybody who wants to play on it can right now, but there just won't be the signs to tell you which hole you are at. Not yet."

These signs and concrete tee pads will be installed within the next two weeks. Along with baskets, posts were put into the ground to hold signs designating the hole number.

Dan Nagle designed the 18-hole course at no cost. He said the first nine holes are better for beginners and the back nine for experienced players looking for a challenge.

Chismar hopes to have the course ready to host a tournament in July with proceeds going back to the drug coalition.

Once the course is completed, Lansford said the coalition will donate the course to the city, giving it liability protection.

The coalition also is hosting its second annual four-person, best-ball golf scramble Saturday, June 23, at Twin Creeks Golf Course.

Proceeds are going toward the disc golf course and substance abuse prevention education, possibly leading to a program in Streator schools similar to DARE. Last year's golf outing raised about $10,000 to purchase Fips, the drug-detecting dog, for the Streator police.

Entry fee is $50 per person and includes 18 holes, food and prizes.

It's inspiring to see these two students see this project through until the end, and the cooperation and collaboration with city officials and the anti-drug coalition.

We know it wasn't 100 percent smooth sailing as these projects warrant much discussion and planning, but it appears this is a fine example of how residents can bring a project in their community to fruition.

Thanks to all involved who made this project happen. The disc golf course is a great addition to Streator's recreational facilities.

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