Construction on Strawn Road Park is underway
COLUMBIA - After a summer full of excessive rain and heavy flooding, construction on the Strawn Road Park disc golf course is finally under way. The park will be the fourth course along with Indians Hills Park and two at Albert Oakland Park.
The Columbia city council gave approval for the Strawn Park - phase 1 development on March 17, 2014. The city then approved the design for the new disc golf course on September 15, 2015. So far the parking lot and shelter are the only parts of the development to be completed.
The park is funded within the 2014 fiscal year budget by the 2010 park sales tax, which expires at the end of the year. Gabe Wilkerson, Columbia Disc Golf Club president, said the extension of the sales tax, next year, will fund phase two of the park's development.
Ryan Atkinson, Columbia Parks and Rec planner, said the Columbia Disc Golf club helped the city with getting the project started. He said he thought the idea for a new disc golf course in town, at Strawn Park, was a great idea.
"It seemed like a perfect place for that to happen in terms of elevation and wooded areas," Atkinson said. "Things like that seemed like a pretty good place for disc golf to happen."
Wilkerson said the hope was to have the course completed around the middle of August but the large amounts of rain didn't allow work to happen on the park as soon as planned.
Atkinson said flooding from the Missouri river, Harmony creek, and Perche creek, made it difficult to work on the course over the summer.
However, now the rain has stopped and Atkinson said the city is working hard to get the course finished as soon as possible.
"We've had our grading contractor out there cleaning up some holes and doing some work and our forestry crews have been out there doing more course shaping and raising the level of the canopy and those kinds of things to allow for disc golf play," Atkinson said.
Atkinson said the city is trying to get the project completed as soon as possible because it is trying to finish a lot of other projects within the city before the end of the year as well. He said progress is coming along well but is tough when guys are getting pulled away from the task at hand to complete other jobs.
Wilkerson said he believes the city is doing a great job of working on getting the park completed and can't wait for it to be finished. He said the course is going to be a new challenge to disc golfers in Columbia.
"Columbia disc golfers are very excited because it's gonna be a course that allows us to use a lot of skills we don't on other courses that already exist," Wilkerson said.
Wilkerson said John Houck, course designer, did an excellent job of laying out the course and making it look as professional as possible. He said Houck is one of the best course designers there is.
"The quality of the course is gonna be a real flagship for exhibiting the pride that Columbia takes in its entire park system and the energy that they put into developing sports and recreation," Wilkerson said.
Both Atkinson and Wilkerson said they hope the course will draw in more major disc golf tournaments into Columbia. They said they are even hoping the course will draw in some national tournaments as well.
Atkinson said the city hopes that by drawing in major disc tournaments it will increase revenues by participants from out of town, also.
Wilkerson said he has had people calling him from Missouri, Arkansas, and Ohio, asking when the course will be open so they can come play it.
"Columbia has a great compliment of courses now with Strawn Road Park coming online," Wilkerson said. "We have everything from a municipal beginners course to advanced courses and now this gives us a pro-level course."
Atkinson said he too is excited for the course to be complete and for people to get to enjoy the course.
"I think it will be a very fun course to play and challenging and I hope everybody enjoys it when it is done," Atkinson said.
Atkinson said the city hopes to have the project completed by around late fall.