By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Lankford Park may soon be home to the city’s second disc golf course, due to the popularity of the course near the fieldhouse, Parks and Recreation co-chair Keith Lozar said.
During the Jan. 20 virtual City Council meeting, the council approved Lozar’s proposal for a simple, easy-to-maintain course, which provides a safe, outdoor activity for residents looking for recreation during the pandemic.
Lankford Park, in the 18800 block of Palmer Street, northeast of Outer Drive, has an abundance of open space to accommodate disc golf, Lozar said.
“We are looking for some creative ideas to encourage more outdoor activities this upcoming spring and summer, where people can social distance and still get some exercise,” he said. “We actually have budget left over from last year for it, so we are not asking for any funds.”
Lozar said the Parks and Recreation Commission was seeking the council’s agreement to locate the city’s second disc golf course at Lankford Park.
He said the concept of disc golf is simple to learn, and it is easy for families to enjoy playing together.
Lozar said they hope to encourage business sponsorship in the future, as well.
“People are actually coming to Melvindale to play, and we want them to stay and eat, which is something we can continue to work on,” he said.
Disc golf is laid out somewhat like regular golf, but the actual course is much smaller, Lozar said, with throws counting as strokes toward each hole or goal, as one tries to land a Frisbee into the basket with as few throws as possible.
He said as more people begin to connect fitness with health and longevity, the demand for physical outdoor recreation continues to grow, and, as a bonus, the exercise from disc golf is disguised as a play activity.
Lozar said fresh air, in a relaxing setting, with a chance to hone one’s skill while interacting with friends has been shown to appeal to all ages, and disc golf is typically free of charge.
He said disc golf fulfills five fitness categories, building muscle strength, flexibility, aerobic fitness, heart strength and endurance, while it provides a mental challenge, which can lead to relaxation.
Lozar said the Lankford Park course would start near the former tennis courts, and would avoid the park’s circle track, with six holes beyond the track, in an adjacent park field, while three holes would be inside of the track. Additionally, all of the holes would be spaced safely away from both the pavilion and the playground.
“So, basically, the three most used activities there would be uninterrupted,” he said. “It would be designed around that.”
Lozar said the basketball court and walking track are getting a lot of use from residents.
“This is a year in which I think it is really important to find creative, useful and easy ways to get out and get some exercise,” he said.
Lozar said the overall cost for the disc golf equipment and installation is about $1,800, which is in the Parks and Recreation budget.
Mayor Wheeler Marsee said he would like to see a third disc golf course in the city, as well.
Lozar said disc golf site selection strikes a balance between finding room in an existing space, while trying to establish a reason for more people to frequent an underutilized park.
“Last year was an unusual year, and we tried to do more visual things and improvements, because there were fewer activities,” Lozar said.