PITTSFIELD -- Come spring, the city could have its first public disc golf course in Kirvin Park off Williams Street.

The Parks Commission approved the concept for the nine-hole course in November, and that plan will be reviewed by the Conservation Commission at 6 tonight at City Hall.

James Conant, who with the city's Parks and Open Space Manager James McGrath developed the proposal, said that if approvals are in hand, a group of volunteers will install the mesh chain and basket targets on seven-foot poles next spring along the course. The fixtures serve the same role as a cup on a golf green.

Using a variety of Frisbee-style discs, players attempt to avoid or circumvent obstacles like trees or bushes to sail a disc into the basket for each hole.

In his role as a Conservation Commission member, Conant said he participated in a site visit to a land parcel Girls Inc. was selling near its camp on Onota Lake. There were disc baskets set up, he said, and afterward he asked about them. Kelly Marion, executive director of Girls Inc., said she would donate them to the city, Conant said.

The site at Kirvin Park was chosen and a rough design of the course developed with the help of a consultant from Explore Disc Golf of Amherst for a modest fee, McGrath said. "He helped us with the layout and with ideas for developing a course," he said.

"This is a project that will create a new opportunity to draw people to Kirvin Park," McGrath said. "I think it's a great fit."

He added that the site is one with "tremendous views" and located near areas for hiking and other outdoor activities -- and soccer fields, including the site of Pittsfield High School matches.

The use for disc golf will not require disruptive clearing or other activities and is designed to fit into the natural features of the park.

The hilly terrain and wispy grass of the area, which will not require constant mowing, is ideal for the use, said Conant, who happens to be the Country Club of Pittsfield's golf course superintendent.

While the course will be the first public course of its kind here, there is an 18-hole course at Bousquet, which charges a fee to play. The course at Kirvin Park will be free for park visitors.

Disc golf was developed as a sport in the early 1960s by Kevin Donnelly in Newport Beach, Calif. McGrath and Conant said the sport has grown rapidly in recent years, along with the number of disc golf courses.

To reach Jim Therrien:
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