The disc course at Ham Lake Park just got nine holes shorter due to ongoing vandalism problems, according to one city official.
Tom Reiner, public works superintendent, removed the back nine holes of the 18-hole course at Ham Lake Park June 4 because some people have sprayed graffiti on city property, left broken beer bottles behind and broken branches off trees.
“It’s a shame because that disc golf course is fairly popular,” Councilmember Tom Johnson said.
“It’s always a couple of grease ball thugs that have to wreck it for everyone else,” Mayor Mike Van Kirk said during the June 4 council meeting.
According to Reiner, the breaking of branches exposes the trees to oak wilt disease. In one area of the park, people have placed empty beer bottles on tree limbs, Reiner said.
The public works crew has needed to spend time knocking down these bottles so they do not fall on someone else, he said.
Reiner said the front nine of the disc golf course remains open because these holes are in more visible locations. The back nine holes are further back in the forest and away from passersby.
Although the baskets of the back nine are gone, Reiner said the stubs that hold these baskets remains. Therefore, the nine holes could be reopened if things improve, he said.
The city placed a sign at the entrance to the back nine to inform people of the holes being removed due to vandalism. On Monday afternoon (June 18) there was graffiti sprayed on the sign including a curse word.
Quentin Bradshaw said “it sucks” that these disc golf course holes closed and that vandals caused it.
He and Lauren Trautman, who both live in Ham Lake, were out at the park on a sunny Monday afternoon to play the front nine.
“I don’t see how closing it would help,” Trautman said. “You can still get over there.”
The Ham Lake disc golf course expanded from nine holes to 18 holes in August 2009 due to its popularity. Some residents did raise concerns about trash and noise, but the council unanimously approved the expansion.
Eric Hagen is at firstname.lastname@example.org