Wheaton Park District wants to build disc golf course on forest land
A new disc golf course could land in Lisle if Wheaton Park District officials are able to sell the property owner on the idea.
The district wants to open a nine-hole course at Danada South Park near the intersection of Naperville and Warrenville roads. The district leases the roughly 40-acre site from the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County.
"We want to expose people to a new activity that can contribute positively to their balance and well-being and their physical fitness and their enjoyment of nature," Executive Director Mike Benard said.
Disc golf is a variation of regular golf where players try to throw discs into steel baskets attached to poles.
Benard said the park district was encouraged to find a location for a course and had a company that designs such facilities evaluate possible sites.
"This was one of the sites that came to the top of the list from their professional standpoint," Benard said.
But the park district needs permission from the forest preserve district to make any changes to the leased property, on Navistar Drive.
On Tuesday, Benard presented the disc golf idea to forest preserve commissioners, but no decisions were made.
Commissioner Mary Lou Wehrli questioned whether such a use would be right for the site, which is part of 51 acres the district spent roughly $22.4 million to acquire from Alcatel Lucent in 2007.
The park, adjacent to Danada Forest Preserve, includes a fitness trail, athletic fields and the Sensory Garden Playground for children with special needs.
Wehrli said she needs to be convinced a disc golf course wouldn't interfere with the "existing peace" of the pathways that she believes complement the sensory garden playground. She also said there are wetlands on the property that would need to be worked around.
"At this point, I don't think it's a compatible use given the amount of money the forest preserve has spent and given our mission of open space and nature," Wehrli said.
But Commissioner Linda Painter said she's had a number of people ask if the forest preserve district has a disc golf course.
"If anyone asks us if we have a disc golf course in the forest preserve district, we could say yes," Painter said. "And we don't have to put it up or maintain it."
Benard said disc golf would allow visitors to enjoy the site.
"I submit that a disc golf course would probably expose more people to the beauty of this forest preserve than are having access to it now," he said. "I think that's certainly in the plus column of reasons to do it."
If the park district gets permission from the forest preserve, it would add the course this year.
"We're ready to go when the forest preserve is ready to go," Benard said.