Opposition to Ross disc golf course could impact grant money

| Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Opposition to a proposed disc golf course for Evergreen Park could cost Ross Township more than $15,000 in state grant money.

About 50 residents who live near Evergreen Park cited negative environmental impact, a lack of parking, noise, vandalism, litter and the hazard of flying discs as reasons they don't want the disc golf course near their homes. They spoke at a community meeting on Feb. 20.

If township commissioners drop plans for the $31,000 golf course, they would have to return $15,500 in grant money for the project, Parks and Recreation Director Eloise Peet said.

Disc golf is similar to traditional golf, except that players use Frisbees or discs.

Kitti Fenk, 67, and her husband Robert, 84, live within 30 feet of Evergreen Park and worry that a disc golf course would diminish the value of their home.

“This is our investment. We own this home. We're retired and we don't want to see the value of our home go down,” she said.

The course was proposed in the 2012 Ross Township Comprehensive Recreation, Park and Open Space Plan along with more than $1 million worth of other improvements for Evergreen Park.

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

The course was originally planned for Denny Park, off Jacks Run Road, but was moved to Evergreen because cutting new trails needed for the course would have been cost prohibitive.

The meeting was facilitated by Ward 8 Commissioner Jeremy Shaffer, who said he does not support a course in Evergreen Park.

The 34-acre park is surrounded on three sides by residential neighborhoods. Those in favor of the disc golf course don't think a course would disrupt residents.

Course designer J. Gary Dropcho, 55, of Pine Township thinks there is enough room in Evergreen for a course and estimates that each of the 18 holes would require about one acre of space. He said discs would be thrown away from homes.

Paul Harkins, 38, the Ross resident who proposed putting a course in the township, said disc golfers diligently maintain their own courses, and other courses throughout the city are “spotless.”

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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