Swope Park animal shelter will impact disc golf course

I wanted to bring to the attention that everyone is seeking answers for what will happen within Swope Park.

We have been working diligently with Parks and Recreation at finding an alternate location within Swope Park for disc golf.  It has become apparent that the initial plans for an animal shelter have grown with the announcement by the city to re-purpose Animal Control and have the Kansas City Pet Project (the shelter initiative) take over those duties.  This announcement really creates a scenario in which having a course on the current footprint to meet the demands of the animal needs is a conflict. Based on that knowledge, over the past few months the KCFDC and Kansas City Parks and Recreation have had multiple meetings and discussions in regards to the future of disc golf within Swope Park.

The best answer right now is that we have identified multiple locations for a replacement course within Swope Park. Alternate locations outside of Swope Park were identified, but not considered ideal from the perspective of the KCFDC at this time.  That doesn’t mean that those areas away from Swope will not be looked at in the future, but it does mean that the efforts of the staff of the KCMO P&R and the KCFDC have been focused on finding an ideal location for the sport within the park.

We are close to having more information available once a location has been planned and mapped out accordingly.

What does this mean about the current Swope course? Well, it means that a piece of history in our sport is going to be replaced by putting smiles of thousands of pet owners in the years to come.  It means that our work and effort, and volunteerism for the past 3 decades plus is going to be fondly remembered, but replaced by what the voters approved.  It also means that we have a chance to create a new place to enjoy our sport within the park, and that we will elevate and move forward into our next stage for the park and our sport.

We are confident that the plans that will go into making this new location will benefit all within the disc golf community.  We believe that we will have abilities to expand and create “gold” examples for our larger ‘internationally-drawing’ events, as well as have enjoyment within the course for our regular play.

Change of this magnitude isn’t the easiest, but truth be told, this took turns that no one could have foreseen when we were first asked about it in 2015.  The problem with being on public lands is that we are at the behest of the owner.  In this situation the owner didn’t ask us to vacate, but instead is willing to work with us on an improved plan to remain true to the sport, and develop a course that will grow with us continually.

Change is tough, but my belief is that we will end up enjoying where we go, remember fondly our “gulley golf,” and be passionate and excited about yet another “new” course to play in town.

Jack Lowe
Career Management
Parks Development
Director for KCFDC

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