Disc Golf

Rick Longer spoke during a virtual meeting of the Olean Common Council’s Committee of the Whole Tuesday. Shown on screen is Longer’s proposed placement of a disc golf course in Gargoyle Park, as well as a proposed cost breakdown of the project.

OLEAN — Who wants to go disc golfing?

City aldermen said Tuesday that they would like to help fund a nine-hole course for the game in Gargoyle Park following a presentation by a local player at the council’s committee of the whole meeting.

Rick Longer, an amateur disc golf competitor from Derrick City, Pa., said he would like to develop a permanent disc golf course in Gargoyle Park. If the project moved forward, he said he wants to start the Twin Tiers Disc Golf Club in Olean, which would organize tournaments, host clinics and perform outreach to get the community involved in the game.

“Gargoyle Park is spacious, quiet, a great place to disconnect from noise and traffic,” Longer said, adding the location near St. Bonaventure University and the Allegheny River Valley Trail makes it an ideal site.

In disc golf, players throw frisbees with the intention of getting it into a basket. The distance played ranges from 125 feet to 1,300 feet at top levels of play. Each round, like regular golf, is nine or 18 holes.

The course would be on areas that are already mowed by the city in the 49-acre park. No trees would need to be cut down, nor would any changes to existing structures, equipment or trails be needed.

“We don’t want to interfere with cookouts, picnics, the play area,” he said.

Officials with St. Bonaventure University and Olean Area YMCA have offered letters of support for the permanent course, Longer said, noting Bonaventure began an intramural program recently and would like a permanent place to play.

A nine-hole course in the park would run around $9,000, he said, including permanent baskets, tee areas and signs.

He said other courses he has played at have used sponsorships to offset installation costs, and thinks that $500 per hole sponsorships would leave about $4,500 left to open the course. Eventually, Longer said, if the project is successful, another nine holes could be added.

Finding more uses for Gargoyle Park — the largest city park, but one with few events on site, has been considered a priority for alderman for some time.

“We need to do what we can to reactivate our parks,” said Alderman John Crawford, D-Ward 5, who was asked by college students about a course there after a cleanup with BonaResponds in the park in 2019.

Crawford noted that tournaments could bring in visitors from out of town to shop and spend the night, and that any course needs to meet the standards to host tournament play.

“It could make that more of a destination than it is,” council President Paul Gonzalez said, noting that along with out-of-town visitors, city residents already have good access to the park via the trail system.

The game appeals to many age groups, said Alderman Linda Witte, D-Ward 1.

“Anybody can play it,” Witte said, adding she has played the game previously in other towns.

“We’ll work with you guys to move this forward,” Mayor Bill Aiello said. “I think it will move Gargoyle forward.”

(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at bclark@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)

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