The statement below was read at the September 3rd Moore City Council meeting to encourage the city to rebuild the Little River Disc Golf Course. Please sign the petition, and we hope you will join us at the next city council meeting on Monday, Sept 16th, at 6:30 pm.
My name is Kris “Sparky” Molskness, and I am the president of the Moore Disc Golf Association, which I formed after being approached in the fall of 2010 by the Moore Parks and Rec. Department to discuss the inclusion of disc golf in the 2022 Comprehensive P.A.T.H. Parks and Recreation Master Plan.I am writing to explain the process by which disc golf came to Little River Park and to ask that the city follow through on the commitments made in the master parks plan.
Not long after I was approached by the city, I attended a citizens advisory meeting at the community center, and was invited the next day to city hall to meet the design architects. Throughout 2011, I worked with the city to develop a course design using aerial maps provided by them. The course layout was modified twice to address safety and access concerns from the city.
In February of 2012, the city council approved the master plan, and shortly after, a team of volunteers, led by the Moore Disc Golf Association and assisted by area golfers and clubs, began the process of clearing out a stretch of woods left unused for decades.
Thousands of man hours went into the cleaning of that section of Tom Strouhal/Little River Park. Our teams pulled appliances and trash leftover from the 1999 and 2003 tornadoes while cutting out dangerous thorny vines and clearing space for fairways and walking paths, some of which were used in the “Trail of Fears” outdoor Halloween attraction last year.
As our team of volunteers worked throughout 2012, we were in constant communication with the parks and recreation department, which was in process of digging a pond as a part of the course in the unused field behind the park. Throughout, we continued to build a working relationship with the city, soliciting donations for materials and equipment while volunteering as much time as we possibly could to ensure the swift completion of the course. More than 3,500 man hours and $20,000 in machinery and materials were donated by area businesses and golfers.
By February 2013, all 18 baskets were installed, and the Moore Disc Golf Association was in full preparation for the Inaugural Little River Open to be held on April 7th and 8th, the first disc golf tournament at the new course. Local Moore businesses like Award Solutions and Raising Cane’s donated to this event. 89 players, including the 2x disc golf World Champion Paul McBeth, and more than 120 spectators came from across the region to participate and observe. Some stayed in local hotels. Most purchased food or gas while in town. Nearly all had played the course prior to the tournament.
The morning the tornado struck, I was out at the course, detailing the work that needed to be done and texting back and forth with Chris about the process for future course maintenance. As the weather began to turn around noon, I left. I had no clue that would be the last time I would see the course as it had come to be. During the year of building the course while running a disc golf shop located at the nearby intersection of S. 4th and Telephone Road, I came to know many of the area business owners well. After picking up my children from school that afternoon, I realized the tornado was bearing down on the area around the park. I didn’t even think – I drove straight there. No words are needed to explain the destruction, and I spent hours at that 7-11. I was there helping pull Terri Long and the other victims out of the rubble.
The disc golf community needed no encouragement to rise to the occasion and help families in need. My family, through the Moore Disc Golf Association, distributed food, water, and clothing that was donated, purchased, and paid for by golfers. The Sooner Disc Golf Club, Adopt-a-Parks members since 2003 and the club responsible for the maintenance of the three disc golf courses in city parks in Norman, raised more than $3,000 for the Regional Food Bank and Habitat for Humanity. The Professional Disc Golf Association and Twisted Flyer, a company out of San Antonio, TX, pledged the needed funds to rebuild teepads, and Innova Champion Discs, the company that the city of Moore purchased 18 baskets through, offered to donate a new set for the course. Internationally-renowned course designer John Houck donated a course redesign, usually costing thousands of dollars.
I hope you can imagine the surprise that I and the disc golf community felt when we discovered that initial plans to rebuild Little River Park did not include a disc golf course. We understand the new plan is not finalized, but we were truly discouraged, at the west-side neighborhood visioning meeting, to see disc golf EXPLICITLY excluded from the new plan.
We truly believe that any issues from the city or from other park users regarding disc golf can be worked through. Nearby communities have embraced disc golf and the inexpensive recreational activities we offer, due in large part to a willingness of both golfers and the community at large to vocalize concerns and offer all parties a chance to be heard. We simply hope for the same, and look forward to working with the city to implement this part of the master parks plan. with the city to implement this part of the master parks plan.