SWARTZ CREEK — Flying saucers could be spotted at Swartz Creek’s Otterburn Park this year.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board voted last week to earmark $10,000 for disc golf baskets and other equipment needed to get the course off the ground. The city council will have the final say on the expenditure.
The disc golf concept first landed on the park board’s radar in 2016. Initially, the board considered installing a small course at Abrams Park, but later realized the nearly 20 acres of undeveloped parkland on Bristol Road made for a more suitable venue.
Since that time, the board has been working with local players to design the course and prepare the property.
Currently, Glaeser-Dawes Corporation, the company in charge of the watermain work around town, is parking heavy machinery on the site.
Park board member Jim Barclay expressed some concern that the disc golf experts, who have volunteered their time to design and begin clearing brush from the course, may be getting discouraged.
“If I was them, and I’m not, I would be encouraged by the fact that we had the equipment and it was a definite,” Barclay said. “(It shows) we’re not backing out, we didn’t change our minds, we’ve made an investment.”
Mike Suchodolski, one of the players with whom the city has consulted, said they were not disheartened by the slow progress. All of the challenges that came along with the COVID-19 pandemic, and construction equipment placed where a couple of holes will be located, was a little discouraging, he said.
“Obviously, that makes it tough to make huge strides,” he said. “But, we are excited to get back out there and bring this course to life.”
Park board member and city Councilwoman Rae Lynn Hicks suggested inviting the players to bring portable disc golf baskets to community events, to introduce area residents to the sport and build excitement.
“I was over by Mott Park the other day and they were playing there – in winter,” she said. “It’s amazing. They do it all seasons.”
Some park board members also are a little frustrated that the project has taken so long to accomplish, but they want to make sure it’s not done haphazardly.
“I think it’s important that we build something that is very viable and can last a long time,” said Barclay. “If it’s not just thrown together, it will draw people to our community, our restaurants and bars, our shopping areas.”
City Manager Adam Zettel agreed.
“It’s taking a while, but we’re hoping to get a pretty good course,” he said. “It’s just a matter of finishing it.”
Zettel added it’s possible that play could commence this fall, but “reasonable” to expect to have everything up and running next spring.