By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – New outdoor bleachers and disc golf course equipment are among the improvements planned for city parks in the coming months.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, members approved the purchase of 23 new sets of metal bleachers for about $14,000 and the disc golf equipment, which will cost about $3,300.
The bleachers will be placed alongside ball fields in city parks and will be mounted in concrete. Existing metal bleachers from all parks will be consolidated at Memorial Park and put by the fields.
Concrete also will be put underneath the metal bleachers being consolidated at Memorial. The concrete pads under the bleachers will make clean-up easier for the grounds crews. Wooden bleachers eventually will be taken out.
“This will make the park look cleaner, and the grass can be cut right up to the (concrete) pad,” said Frederick Pischke, superintendent of recreation.
Disc golf (also known as Frisbee golf) is a game in which players throw a flying disc into a target or into a basket. The object is to travel around the course from beginning to end with the fewest number of disc throws.
Disc golf is an inexpensive sport, and people of all ages and physical abilities can play it. Most disc golf courses are free, another advantage, recreation officials say.
Intern Ashleigh Maisano Purcell, a city native, championed the idea of a disc golf course. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Adrian, and earned a master’s degree in public administration from Wayne State University.
“Our disc golf course will be (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant,” Purcell said, “so people with disabilities can use it. It’s nice that it’s an activity that is not targeted at a specific population.”
The disc golf targets along the course are structures of steel and chain and are mounted in concrete. The Michigan Disc Golf Association has a Web site identifying other area courses.
Since the council approved the $3,285 expenditure Monday and awarded the job to the only bidder, the equipment could arrive in mid-October. Memorial Park, where it’s slated to be installed, is open each night until 10 p.m.
Nearby Riverview currently has a disc golf course near its middle school and sports fields. Wyandotte recreation staff members hope that the city’s physical education teachers will make disc golf a field trip to introduce the game to city youth.
The game can be played year round using regular discs, or one can specialize and use three different sizes of discs.
“We look forward to being another community that has this kind of course,” Pischke said. “It’s a lifelong activity that can be taught in the schools and can be played by anyone who can throw a Frisbee at any age.”
Another advantage of disc golf, officials say, is that it doesn’t take over the park space where it is installed.
“From a city planning perspective, I like it because it doesn’t reduce the green space,” Purcell said. “There are no large structures.”
Park employees will install the equipment when it comes in. The Michigan Disc Golf Association also can list the course on its Web site once installation is complete.
“We were tearing out the tennis courts and looking for something to do,” Pischke said. “The (tennis court) fences were rusted, and concrete was heaving out of the ground.” The tennis nets hadn’t been up in a quite a while.
Parks and Recreation employees talked to current disc golf players on other courses, who recommended that the stations be at least 200 feet apart to make the course challenging. They were able to measure out a course that used the former tennis court location, ran along the ball fields and stayed away from the children’s playground equipment.
The course will have nine stations. Once the course is established, benches will be added along the course.