There might be snow on the ground, but officials in Mauston are already gearing up for spring with plans for the city’s first Frisbee – or disc - golf course.
The park board unanimously approved a motion Monday night to allow the Kiwanis Club to build and finance a six-hole course this spring at Kiwanis Mile Bluff Park on the city’s south side.
Paul Fleckenstein, of the Mauston Kiwanis, and Matt Erickson, a senior at Mauston’s iLead Charter School, proposed a five-hole course at a meeting in November. But after further research and planning, the two decided six holes could be implemented on the property for about $6,000. The Kiwanis Club has budgeted for that amount. In addition to the six holes, which include targets and tee-boxes, the club plans to make improvements to the picnic area as well.
“We have better than five holes, we have six – six good holes,” Fleckenstein said.
Erickson said that having six holes is desirable because it allows for the option of holding tournaments. In order to hold a tournament under regulations imposed by the Disc Golf Association, a course must have a number of holes that is divisible by three for a tournament. The association is the founding company of disc golf and created the rules for the game.
Each planned hole in Mauston plays out to be about 200 feet, which is within the recommended length for beginners. Fleckenstein said the course can be built with relatively little effort. The majority of the labor will involve mowing and brush clearing, which Public Works Director Rob Nelson said could be handled by his crew.
Originally, Fleckenstein and Erickson proposed a nine-hole course that would span the property owned by both the city and Mile Bluff Medical Center, with five holes on the city’s side and an additional four on the hospital’s side. But when the nine-hole course was proposed in November, James O’Keefe, CEO of Mile Bluff Medical Center, said the hospital board would be hesitant to agree to construct the course on their side of the property.
“Quite honestly the bluff thing has been kind of protected for us," O’Keefe said. "The board has been mostly protective of the property. The other issue we have is that it’s really meant to be for future use of the medical center so... If we commit to (building the course), what does it do to our ability to expand?”
He told the board there might be a possibility to revisit the issue if the city moved forward with plans to build a course on their side of the property. That would happen after the course has been established and the hospital board has the opportunity to evaluate the course's success or failure.
“If we have a season to watch it, to let it settle in and see how it goes... We’ll have a better sense," O’Keefe said.
Fleckenstein said the initial six holes could be built without partnership from the hospital, because they would not interfere with hospital property. He told the board that careful consideration of property lines went into planning the course so the hospital’s property, as well as private property next to the park, would not be affected in any way.
“We don’t want to upset anyone. We want to make sure that we’re well within the property lines,” Fleckenstein said.
The park board will introduce the idea to the Mauston Common Council for approval Tuesday night at its regularly scheduled meeting.