The Metro Council recently granted conditional approval for Metro and the City of Fairview to move forward with plans to develop an 18-hole disc golf course at Metro’s Blue Lake Regional Park. The course, which developers hope to open in mid-spring 2011, would be the first gold-level disc golf course in the Portland metropolitan area. The proposed course would expand outdoor recreation options and create economic opportunities for East Multnomah County and the city of Fairview.
Disc golf is played much like traditional golf but instead of using clubs and balls, participants throw streamlined discs into baskets attempting to use the fewest number of throws possible. While still a relatively new sport, disc golf has exploded onto the national scene and is especially popular in the Pacific Northwest and Portland in particular. According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, Oregon has the 10th largest PDGA membership in the US and nearly 25 PDGA-sanctioned events are held statewide.
Designed by the top disc golfer in the nation, David Felberg, the proposed course would take up approximately 70 acres of Blue Lake’s underutilized “East Property” which lies adjacent to the current park. Unlike most disc golf courses in the area which intertwine the holes and tees with other recreational facilities, the proposed Blue Lake facility would house 18 holes for the exclusive use of disc golfers. By including two sets of movable tees, the current course design would create a layout friendly to both beginners and experienced professionals. The mobile tees would not only provide the chance for people of all experience levels to use the course, but also allow the shape and direction of the course to change for more competitive and creative layouts.
Recognizing the potential economic development opportunities offered by such a course, the City of Fairview has been a strong proponent of the project and has set aside staff hours and a small financial contribution to help ease the planning process. The gold-level designation, the highest ranking awarded to disc golf courses by the Professional Disc Golf Association, would allow the Blue Lake course to compete to host prestigious local, national and international disc golf competitions. By drawing hundreds of players from across the globe, hosting several disc golf tournaments would provide a large boon to local businesses, restaurants and hotels.
The current proposal would cost between $60,000 and $100,000 to construct, a cost which conservative financial models anticipate will be recuperated within a span of two to three years.
Just like visitors to the rest of Blue Lake Regional Park, disc golfers will be expected to pay a $5 per vehicle entry fee which grants them day-long access to the course as well as other park amenities including the lake, walking trails and the water spray ground. Bicyclists and pedestrians pay no admission to Blue Lake Regional Park
Metro, the regional government, crosses city limits and county lines to build a resilient economy, keep nature close by and respond to a changing climate. Representing a diverse population of 1.5 million people in 25 cities and three counties, Metro’s directly elected council gives voters a voice in decisions about how the region grows and communities prosper. For more information, visit www.oregonmetro.gov.
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