Plan for disc golf course in neighborhood park alarms New Kensington residents
, 2022-08-07 05:01:00,
A New Kensington man’s desire to use his neighborhood park for a disc golf course has put him at odds with some of his neighbors, who fear it will attract too many people and infringe on their privacy.
Jim Jackson moved to Fairmont Drive from Arnold in January. His house borders Fairmont Park, which today is mostly a grass field with a small playground bordered by Fairmont Drive and Greenbriar Avenue. Both are dead-end streets lined with homes.
“Looking out of my house, I’m privileged to see a beautiful park like that,” Jackson said. “It feels like our backyard.”
Jackson, 53, and a salesman, got into disc golf in 2015 after stumbling upon a course at Deer Lakes Park in West Deer. He saw a basket, wondered what it was and looked it up.
“I was hooked,” he said. “Being outside is probably one of the biggest benefits to me. I lost a lot of weight. I keep moving and, quite honestly, one of the biggest things is it’s a sport that I can do and I don’t have to sprint.”
Fairmont Park used to be more than it is today. The park once contained a ball field and basketball and tennis courts — amenities that drew people to it from beyond the neighborhood, said Chuck Susek. Susek said he has lived at the end of Fairmont Drive by the park entrance for all of his 74 years.
“At one time, it was a really, really nice park,” he said.
Those facilities became deteriorated or damaged over time, and the city removed them, Susek said. The tall metal backstop and some fencing are all that remain of the ball field. Part of the park behind the backstop is wooded.
Wooded area at issue
It’s in those woods where much of the friction between Jackson and his new neighbors arose.
“Normally, disc golf is played in the woods,” Jackson said. “Trees are an important obstacle. It’s one of the obstacles that we use.”
Jackson said he found the area overgrown with knotweed and filled with dead and fallen trees and garbage. He said he contacted city Councilman Dante Cicconi, who oversees parks, and Cicconi gave him the OK to clear the area and place portable disc golf baskets in Fairmont Park.
“To me, the volunteer effort seemed harmless,” Cicconi said. “I want more people to use the parks.”
But to other park neighbors like Barb Kitko, it was alarming. She and other homeowners like having the dense woods behind their houses.
“You took away our privacy, you took away our seclusion, you took away our quietness,” Vicki Kowalski, who lives…
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