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Norwich City Council hears plans for disc golf course inn Mohegan Park

November 20, 2018

Norwich – A disc golf course in Mohegan Park would not involve cutting down trees, clearing brush or creating lawns, but rather the rugged terrain and existing landscape would add to the quality of the course and provide “challenging obstacles” for players, according to a proposal made to the City Council Monday night. 

Kyle Seitz, a member of the Mohegan Park Improvements and Development Advisory Committee, presented plans to the council for a nine-hole disc golf course in the section of Mohegan Park where the failed controversial Chelsea Gardens botanical gardens had been proposed. The defunct Chelsea Gardens Foundation stirred opposition when it cut six acres of trees in the area off Wilderness Road without having full funding for the project.

Seitz emphasized that the disc golf course in that area would not involve any cutting of the trees or brush which have started to grow back. Seitz said only a few eye-level branches might need to be trimmed for the course. Baskets would be anchored to the ground, and small tee-off areas would need to be created, perhaps with wood chips. A small parking lot would be needed off Wilderness Road or Judd Road.

Seitz estimated the course would cost about $10,000 and the committee hopes to seek business sponsorships and do crowd funding to cover most of the cost.

The council also heard mixed comments from residents, with those in favor welcoming the low-impact popular attraction to Mohegan Park, and opponents urging the council to leave the park alone.

“I don’t believe that anything should go in there right now, except for Mother Nature,” said Jon Oldfield, who told the council he walks through the park several times a week.

Timothy Smith, 45-year resident of Beech Street, said 75 feet of his rear property borders Mohegan Park where Chelsea Gardens had been proposed. Smith said Norwich citizens were “made whole” when the Chelsea Gardens Foundation gave up the 80 acres in Mohegan Park off Wilderness Road, and he too hoped that Mother Nature would take over the area.

Smith said he served on the Mohegan Park committee in the past and rejected ideas including a carousel, a chapel at the Rose Garden and an amphitheater.

“With the ever-increasing noise and chatter in this world, Mohegan Park exists more and more as a rare, passive haven for those who seek peace and tranquility in a natural setting,” Smith said.

Huntington Place resident Joshua Perry said he has played disc golf for the past 10 years and would welcome having a course in Mohegan Park rather than going to Lisbon to play. While others said it would be mostly young people playing, Perry said he is 45 and mostly plays with people older than he is.

Seitz said he, Public Works Director Ryan Thompson and Greg Wintrob of Groton, a 15-year member of the Professional Disc Golf Association, walked the entire park to look for locations. Two areas were considered for the disc golf course, one in a grassy area near the lower pond and the second in the former Chelsea Gardens section.

Seitz said the lower pond area was more limited, and disc golf play could interfere with popular walking trails. The main negative with the Wilderness Road area is the lack of parking, but officials said a small parking area could be created.

Seitz also said he wanted to clarify that the Mohegan Park committee was not associated with the former Chelsea Gardens Foundation in any way but is a city committee that advises the City Council on proposed park improvements and care of the park.

The council took no action on the disc golf proposal Monday. Alderman Samuel Browning, a member of the Mohegan Park committee, said he hopes to present a resolution to the City Council in December to create a subcommittee with the authority to raise money with a designated account for the course that would be controlled by the city Finance Department.

c.bessette@theday.com

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