BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – An effort is underway to secure funding to put a 9-hole disc golf course on the grounds at Ivanhoe Park in Fort Madison.
On Saturday, a group led by Robert Ellison of Fort Madison put up a temporary course at the park with about 30 people playing. Ellison is trying to secure grant funding through several outlets to help offset the $12,500 estimated cost to build the course.
Fort Madison Kiwanis is working with Ellison as that group takes steps to start making an investment in the park. Other groups such as Fort Madison Rotary, Tri State Rodeo, and Old Settler’s Association already have made substantial contributions to three other parks in the city.
Ivanhoe also has a baseball facility that is getting contributions and maintenance help from Doherty Baseball Academy.
Kiwanis is looking to function as a non-profit support mechanism for park efforts and to help with upkeep, but is also partnering with Ellison to bring the course to the park. There is a 54-hole course that winds through Rodeo Park, but this one will be for the more recreational players.
Ellison said Saturday’s event was geared toward seeing how the course played with some pretty seasoned players going around the course.
“It’s a trial run to get basket locations and tee pad locations,” Ellison said. “We want to see where the discs could potentially go and if we need to make any adjustments.”
Sam Vidal, the president of Fort Madison Kiwanis, said there were enough people in the community involved in disc golf that it makes sense to have another course at the park on the city’s west side.
“I think we believe there’s enough people in the community who are already actively involved in disc golf,” Vidal said.
“But Rodeo (Park) is more of a treacherous course, this is something friendly for kids. So if you wanted to bring your kids down for the afternoon, you could easily walk through the course and you don’t have to climb through the woods like you would at Rodeo.”
Ellison said he and his boys were up playing at Rodeo and said some of the holes were extremely difficult for kids. He said on a Saturday where he was helping with a Kiwanis cleanup, the gears started turning.
“I just was out here helping Kiwanis clean up one day and I thought, this would be a great location,” Ellison said.
Ellison said the majority of the costs would be for installation of the concrete tee-pads. Those nine pads would cost about $7,500 professionally installed.
Ellison recently applied for a Freeport McMoran community grant and said he would find out this week if that has been accepted.
Vidal said that grant may not cover the full cost of the project. Vidal said Kiwanis has agreed to put $1,000 into the project. Ellison said he has applied for additional grants from other groups and hopes to have funding secured soon.
He said the disc golf people would probably also play a role helping keep the park clean.
“The disc golf community is very good about picking up their trash. You get a lot of people parking and just throwing stuff out the window, and we’d help keep things clean.”
Kiwanis is also looking at doing some additional landscape work and painting in the park. Long-term plans could include an additional shelter house, refurbishing the current shelter house and upgrading the basketball court with up-to-date equipment.