Greenfield disc golf fans soon could have their own course right here within the city.
Whitnall High School senior Clayton Anderson, the student senate treasurer and son of School Board member TJ Anderson, wants to turn the district’s Nature Pod into a 9- to 12-hole disc golf course possibly as soon as next spring.
Clayton Anderson, with the help of the district’s buildings and grounds supervisor Matt Karshna, made the initial pitch for his proposal to board members Monday.
Clayton Anderson told board members there are approximately 3,000 disc golf courses in the country with more than 160 in Wisconsin. Locally, there are approximately 20, the closest being in New Berlin at Valley View Park.
Making good use of space
Course holes in the Nature Pod would be anywhere from 150-300 feet, or perhaps as long as 400 feet if open space just south of the pod is incorporated. The course would utilize already existing paths and its current natural terrain. Nearby wetlands would not be disturbed, but some brush would be removed to increase visibility.
“We can’t change the topography of the land, we can’t mess with wetlands, and we can’t build bridges and damns,” Karshna said. “It’s our land; we can treat itas we want. The only thing (the city) asked for was to have the city forester come in and save the good hardwood and get rid of the ash trees.”
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The Nature Pod course would be available for the public year round, attracting people to the community, Clayton Anderson said. He even suggested the nearby schools could incorporate disc golf into the physical education curriculum.
The Nature Pod is a 5.4-acre wooded area on the west side of 116th Street just north of Whitnall’s middle and high schools. Clayton Anderson said it is underutilized space
Board president Nancy Zaborowski said she received an email from the city’s Park and Recreation Director Scott Jaquish stating his department could be supportive of such an initiative. Karshna said no formal discussions have taken place with the city, but the idea of Division of Public Works lending a hand to remove brush and turn it into useable woodchips for the walking paths has been floated out there.
The proposal is still relatively in its infant stages. It still needs board approval — no action was taken Monday — and the district would likely want to speak with neighboring homes that could be impacted by increased foot traffic.
Clayton Anderson said he’d like to start fundraising as soon as next month and put a price tag of anywhere between $5,000 and $15,000 on the project.
The Nature Pod is used by the nearby schools for science and environmental courses, Superintendent Lowell Holtz said. That would not change, he added.
But another current possible “use” — drinking and drug use in the pod — is one of the reasons Clayton Anderson came forward with his proposal. He believes the disc golf course will curtail those activities.
“I’ve seen, on a daily basis kids coming to school intoxicated,” Clayton Anderson said. “I’ve seen kids leaving class to get intoxicated.”
Board member Quin Bruette said he was not aware of those issues.
“I’ve never heard of that being a major problem,” Brunette said. “Why do I not know it’s a major problem? Why are we finding out about this with this now?”
Holtz suggested saying those type of activities happening all the time is an overstatement and said he could think of only a few similar incidents. He also referenced a Greenfield Patch story about two 19-year-olds charged with growing pot in the area.
Greenfield Police Capt. Jay Johnson told Greenfield NOW police have had very few reported problems with the pod.
But TJ Anderson, however, backed his son’s reasoning for wanting to transform the area.
“We know there is a problem in the Nature Pod,” the elder Anderson said. “We’ve had situations in the Nature Pod. We’ve had people come before us for expulsions because of the Nature Pod. … Let’s take the option away and use the nature pod for better purposes and give the perception that’s it’s a positive place to be rather than a negative place to be.”