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Old 10-18-2012, 11:38 AM
afterdarkZ afterdarkZ is offline
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Restoring Johnson Park - Grand Rapids, MI

I know a few people have tried to take this on over the past few years without much success. I've recently met with a few people from Kent County Parks regarding this and have had good feedback from them. I've become a volunteer park steward for the course and have been out there doing some work these last few weeks. I'm putting together a work day this Sunday (10/21) from 1-5pm. Here's a link with more info on that:

http://www.facebook.com/events/130099990471446/

I created a Facebook page for the course to help organize more events like this and help keep anyone who is interested in the park in what is going on there:

http://www.facebook.com/JohnsonParkDGC

The park manager for Johnson told me that he would make the disc golf course a higher priority if he sees more interest in it. He told me there have been a couple instances over the last few years where there was talk of removing the disc golf course due to lack of use. This is still a legitimate threat unless we show the parks department that people do care about the course and it starts getting more use.

I know a lot of people think putting in baskets and concrete pads is all we need to do to fix the course. I think that should be the eventual goal, but other things need to happen first. We need to show the parks department we can take care of what's there if we want them to invest time and money into something more.

The park manager said we could sit down sometime this winter to discuss some low cost improvements for early next year like switching to tone poles (closer to the size of baskets), signage (for the holes, for the course so people can find it, course map), benches/seating, etc. We also may be able to add a little distance to some holes to help modernize the 20 year old course. The total distance on here is listed as 5140 feet, but I know a couple holes are shorter than what listed due to posts being moved. For comparison, Riverside is 5805, Brewer is 5547 and 5815, and Fallasburg is 6041.

Anyways, I know this is a long post, but I've just been thinking about this a lot over the past month or so. I hope some of you can make it out this Sunday or if not, that you will get involved in the future. Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2012, 06:10 PM
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rshrevo rshrevo is offline
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I could stop by for a couple of hours but it would have to be from like 8 am to around 10. since i work third shift. I also posted this notice on disc golf scene under Johnson Parks page.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:51 PM
afterdarkZ afterdarkZ is offline
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I won't be able to be out there that early on Sunday. If there is enough left to do, I may try to set up another work day next month sometime. And I'm definitely planning on a big one in the spring to clean up the mess after the snow melts.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:52 PM
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BZoods BZoods is offline
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As a Grand Rapids native, I've never played Johnson. I know it's there, but the fact that there aren't baskets is enough to make me skip over it when I'm going to go play a round. I don't think that benches are going to be enough to bring people out there. For me to play a round there, I'd have to be in the area (I don't even know where the park is, to be honest), or there would have to be baskets for me to go out of the way to play there. My home course is Fallasburg, and if I'm going to drive 10-15 miles to play a round, I want baskets.

If it were me in charge of reviving the course, I'd talk to the local organizations (Dogs of Disc, Flat River DGA, etc) about fundraising to get baskets put in, as well as trying to find hole sponsors that can chip in on the cost.

I think that baskets and fun, challenging holes should be the first priority. A course doesn't have to be long to be decent (Old Farm comes to mind). Seating should be a low priority, it's not going to attract people to the course... Just my $0.02
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Old 10-20-2012, 12:55 AM
afterdarkZ afterdarkZ is offline
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Don't get me wrong, baskets are definitely the goal. It's just a matter of working up to that point. The park manager did not seem at all interested in putting baskets in with the way things are right now.

Plus, seats made from logs are free. Baskets are $6000 or more. Hole sponsors are not allowed at Kent County Parks from what I've heard because there can be no advertising for businesses. I personally have not asked about that, but that's what others who looked into were told. I can make sure that is actually the case.

The course used to have baskets. They were all stolen and vandalized. Things have gotten a lot better in the area with Millennium Park right there and Kent Trails now going next to the parking lot. However, there are still issues with security and illegal activity. Putting baskets in too soon will lead to them being stolen or damaged again.

This work still has to be done regardless of whether there are baskets or poles. The course has been neglected for years and needs work.

A little added length would just make some of the wide open holes a little more of a challenge. It may even allow for separate blue and red tees, which makes a course appealing to a wider audience. It is a very fun and challenging course already. You really should check it out sometime, I'd be happy to show you around.
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2012, 04:59 PM
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rshrevo rshrevo is offline
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Johnson Park Work Day

A few of us are going to be out at Johnson working on removing Multiflora Rose (the really nasty thorn bushes) this Saturday. If you want to help with that, please wear a heavy jacket (like a Carhart) and leather gloves. We'd also love help with other invasive species removal, clean up, or any other improvements. This Saturday December 8th at 1:30 p.m. Come Join us in a effort to clean up a park that has fallen into disrepair.
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