Parks and Rec committee seeks permission to use Upshur County Board of Education land for disc golf course

TENNERTON – Upshur County Board of Education members on Tuesday voted to approve a request from the Upshur County Parks and Recreating Committee to use Buckhannon-Upshur High School land to establish a disc golf course.

According to the agenda, the parks committee representatives appeared at Tuesday’s BOE meeting to request approval for using land near B-UHS owned by the Board of Education.

Parks and Rec committee members Josh Hinchman and J.J. Ford passed out a map and a flyer to BOE members and said they were proposing creating a disc golf course – a sport that uses a frisbee or disc and is scored and played like golf with a hole. They said each hole has a par, and there are different types of discs for use just like drivers and putters in golf.

Hinchman and Ford said disc golf is growing in popularity across the U.S., and there are courses locally in Marion and Lewis counties as well as in counties down south. They said the Upshur County Parks and Recreation Board is looking to expand recreation opportunities around the park and the pool. The two did note that it is only a proposed course, and they will not know the exact location of the courses’ tees and holes until they are on the ground and start compensating for trees and terrain.

“The majority of the holes will be on the County Commission Property around the pool and the park,” Hinchman said. “We are requesting about three holes to be around the parking lot and possibly around the field, where the cross-country course is. Any of the tees and baskets can be removed and put into the woods and they are removable for events, moving and maintenance.”

BOE President Dr. Tammy Samples asked B-UHS Athletic Director Rick Reynolds about proposed new athletic fields and potential new high school locations and if either of those factors would impact this proposal negatively.

Reynolds said he thinks the idea of a disc golf field is a really good, adding, however, that he believes more planning will need to be done regarding its exact location.

“It seems like an idea that is good, like the biking trail,” Reynolds said. “They have grown and are good for our community to have. With that being said, I think there is more planning that is needed to know where things can go and where it would interfere. [I told] Commissioner Kristie Tenney that on the northeast side of the property up against the wood line, I would need to go out and measure and look at it to see how far the cross-country trail is off of that. It’s going to take some planning.”

The Parks and Recreation representatives said that at any time, the 4-foot-by-4-foot posts of the tee and the hole can be pulled, and a new sign can be made for the distance of the hole.

“We could move it every couple of years if we needed to,” Ford said.

Samples asked the delegation if they were requesting to put three holes on high school property and the representatives responded, “yes.” Samples then asked when they proposed to begin construction.

“Are we at that point?” Samples asked.

“Once we have approval, we will begin our fundraising for $400 per holes for names or businesses,” Hinchman replied. “We hope to have that sponsorship in this winter and start installation in the spring.”

BOE Vice president Katie Loudin said she was “excited for the course.”

Reynolds said he did not know how the BOE approves the process, but he thought there needed to be a more detailed plan regarding location of the course before fundraising began.

“I think we can work with them, but I think we need to know where that is going to be before we say they are actually going to be able to have this in the area,” Reynolds said. “I think we need to revisit that and see where everything is at. But that is just my opinion.”

Representatives said the best time to map out the course is in the fall when the leaves are off the trees so they can determine the ‘throwing zones,’ and said they could complete a “walk-through” at any time to get a better idea.

Samples said, “Parks and Rec is here to get our approval to construct at least three holes on Upshur BOE property,” and asked if anyone wanted to make a motion to accept the proposal.

BOE member Dr. Greenbrier Almond made a motion to approve the construction of the three holes, and Samples said she wanted to add an addendum that the Parks and Rec Committee would be required “to work with all involved (Reynolds, B-UHS principal Jonathan Pollock and maintenance Director Tim Derico)” to determine locations.

Loudin seconded the motion with the addendum to work with the administrators to make sure the poles are feasible for all. All BOE members voted unanimously to approve the motion with the addendum.

Following the vote to approve, the delegation from Parks and Recreation said there was also a request to establish gravel parking lots at all the trailheads attached to the Upshur County Trails project.

“What they are wanting is if we can put gravel parking lots near the new archway over there near the gate because once winter comes along, the gate is shut and you can’t park at the pavilion area,” Hinchman said. “Also, there have been a lot of people parking across from the practice soccer fields. The Parks Board and the County Commission would like to have permission to put some gravel parking areas in there, at no cost to the Upshur County Board of Education.”

Reynolds said he would like to know what location they are talking about because no map of the proposed location was provided to BOE members prior to the meeting.

Samples asked the delegation to provide maps of the location of the proposed gravel lots to Upshur County Superintendent Dr. Sara Lewis Stankus so they could be sent to BOE member Pat Long, who was attending Tuesday’s meeting online.

“I think that is not on the agenda so it is not something we can act on,” Samples said of approving the gravel parking lots. “I do think it is something you can work on with Mr. Reynolds, Mr. Derico and Mr. Pollock to make that happen.”

BOE members also took the following actions following the discussion of the disc golf course and graveling of the lots at B-UHS:

Voted unanimously to approve the personnel recommendations of the superintendent.

The next meeting of the Upshur County BOE is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17 at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School, located at 16 College Ave. in Buckhannon.

Check with My Buckhannon to learn about awards and recognitions given during Tuesday BOE meeting and learn about other business items including the new school app, an update on safety and preparedness and repairs made at Buckhannon Academy Elementary School.

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