Cutting disc golf from Bijou park? Say it ain’t so, Judy
Bijou Community Park is underutilized and it would be a good place to build a city hall. It would just take $4 million, a crew of loggers and several tons of concrete.
This came out of Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
The notion is absurd.
The plan means taking out the front nine at the disc golf course, which is being utilized just fine, thank you. It is part of a success story that council members should use as a model of what a community can achieve. Apparently their memories aren’t too good.
Remember what the park was like before 1993? It really was underutilized. It was a wildland fire waiting to happen, a bark beetle-infested forest that nobody used.
Over the years, volunteers and the community fixed it up as a world-class course, kind of a corny-phrase we used as a goal in the early years. Now it’s an irrefutable definition. Thousands of people use it every year. Tourists from the Sacramento area come up to play Bijou to escape the heat. Tahoe residents play here because it’s a low-cost activity that can also be as competitive as any sport. Each year, you see more families out on the course, and the front nine is the recreational area they prefer to use.
Having to rent the building that is used as city hall certainly is a problem. It costs $130,000 a year and the lease expires in February 2006. Why not use an existing building and save the $4 million? And $4 million is probably a low estimate. That was the figure tossed around in 2001 when the issue first came up.
How about talking to the folks down at the recreation center and ask them about the revenue generated by sales from discs and from the park fees for disc golf tournaments. The city has easily profited $50,000 from disc golf over the last decade.
If the front nine goes, what kind of message is being sent to the volunteers who’ve put in hundreds of hours cleaning up the course, making it safe from fires and lining footpaths with chips to prevent erosion? And what does it say to the individuals, businesses and players who donated more than $15,000 for materials to build the course?
The longtime course volunteers will always appreciate what City Councilmember Judy Brown has done for the park. She’s opened her own pocketbook to help us with equipment and event costs. She’s added up scorecards at tournaments and one year barbecued lunch for the competitors.
I’ll never forget the first year we held a national circuit event when then-Mayor Brown welcomed the players with a speech. Those competitors knew then what a special community it is here.
Judy told me Wednesday plans to change the course are merely “preliminary hypothesizing” but all options need to be considered.
The disc golf community loves you Judy, but none of us will agree with you if you vote to put city hall on our course.
And if the council does in fact decide to build a city hall at Al Tahoe Boulevard and Johnson Avenue?
Russell Wey, who has volunteered more time on the course than anyone, told me what he will do. “I’m going to chain myself to a basket when the bulldozers come,” he said.
– News Editor Tim Parsons can be reached by phone at (530) 542-8033 or e-mail at Editor@tahoedailytribune.com