Homeowners, disc golfers meet to figure out best plan for Westlake Park
Nobody can say Westlake Park isn’t being used.
The city-owned park behind City Market on First and Orchard offers a skate park, a walking trail, a playground, and what has become the most popular attraction, a nine-hole disc golf course.
But with the disc golf course attracting more users, a safety issue has been raised with the discs flying so close to the pedestrians and users of the playground.
Tuesday night at the park, the Grand Junction Parks and Recreation department held a community meeting to discuss the future of the facility.
“We have seen a huge increase in participation,” Recreation Superintendant Traci Wieland said. “So we want to be proactive and come up with a really good strategy to figure out how to deal with the increased use.”
The tentative plan is to make use of the undeveloped land to the west of the existing park. There have already been disc golf baskets set up on that land, but the city is considering turning it into more of an official course with the help of the Grand Valley Disc Golf Club.
“We haven’t made a final decision yet, but where we were a couple of weeks ago is figuring out what were we going to develop this area into,” Parks and Rec Director Rob Schoeber said. “It’s not going to be 18 holes, but (could include) moving the entire course over here or taking the conflicting holes and spreading it out into this area. It’s up in the air right now.”
The meeting attracted nearly 75 people ranging from disc golf players to owners of the surrounding homes. Both sides discussed their ideas, not only about the safety of the park, but issues with traffic and parking, as well as the safety of the homeowners’ property. Some homeowners complained about dents on their house all the way to broken windows.
“I think there is a lot of room for middle ground,” Jim Nall, a homeowner near the park said. “I like the idea of making it safer and developing (the west) end, but I don’t want to see everything moved. The disc golf players have given this park ownership.”
The fact that there is an issue with the park speaks to how much the sport of disc golf has grown locally. It’s gone from a small group of less than 30 players to enough players at the Westlake course to cause waits and overcrowding. Pete Wade has been playing disc golf in the Grand Valley since there were only a few players, and said the growth of the sport had pressed the issue for the meeting.
“It’s really taken off and exploded over the past two years, and that has led to a big number of people coming down here,” Wade said. “It’s an easier course and that’s why
it’s gained popularity. I think that’s a good thing.”
In the upcoming weeks, the Parks and Rec Department will continue to work with the Grand Valley Disc Golf Club to try and figure out the best solution.
“We want there to be respect for everyone using the park as well as the players,” Wade said.