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Disc golf course to highlight projects at Evergreen Park

| Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | File Photo | North Journal
Dan Horwat aims for the basket during a round of disc golf at Knob Hill Community Park in Marshall Township.

A new disc golf course is among the changes residents will see at Evergreen Community Park as a result of a state grant.

Ross Township's Parks and Recreation Department won a grant that officials applied for in July that will fund trail improvements, additional parking and the disc golf course in the park, which is at 3430 Evergreen Road.

The grant of $72,350 is from the state's Marcellus Legacy Fund, which was established in 2012 to fund recreation and conservation projects with impact fees from natural-gas drilling.

Ross officials and residents identified Evergreen Community Park as a priority in the 2012 Ross Township Comprehensive Recreation, Park and Open Space Plan, parks and recreation director Eloise Peet said.

Matching money from the township will create a project budget of $144,700.

Money will be used to widen the trail, clear it of debris and remove outdated outdoor fitness stations located along the way.

More parking and parking spaces for people with disabilities will be added to the park, and paths to the picnic pavilion will be made more accessible.

The disc golf course was proposed by residents in the creation of the parks and recreation comprehensive plan.

The course cost will account for less than 20 percent of the grant budget, but officials hope it will be a draw for disc golf players across the region.

Disc golf is a sport similar to traditional ball golf with holes and tees, but instead of hitting balls, players throw discs into baskets located throughout the course.

“It's actually really fun for people who do ball golf,” Peet said.

Ross officials are working with Pittsburgh Flying Disc Society's course superintendent, J. Gary Dropcho, 55, of Pine Township to design the course, which will run through Evergreen's woods and extend into open space near Windhurst Field.

Some residents were worried that a lot of trees would have to be cut down to build the course, but, Peet said, a minimal amount of trees will be taken out, and the parks department's comprehensive plan requires some trees to be removed in an effort to better manage the forest vegetation.

“It's not the intention to harm forest and disrupt wildlife,” said Peet, who added that she plans to involve the state the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry in the planning process.Trail and parking work are expected begin in March and be complete by October.

Dropcho said the disc golf course, however, will take several years to complete.

The Evergreen course will be the ninth disc golf course in the area, and, Dropcho said, it will be beginner friendly.

Three Pittsburgh-area courses at Moraine State Park in Butler County, Deer Lakes Park in northeastern Allegheny County and Knob Hill Community Park in Marshall Township will host the Professional Disc Golf World Championships in 2015.

The Evergreen course won't be included in the tournament, but Dropcho anticipates that it will draw players from across the region to Ross Township and prompt residents to get involved in the sport. “As soon as there's a new course, a new set of players pops up,” he said.

Kelsey Shea is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6353 or kshea@tribweb.com.

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