Not just a walk in the park with local amenities


Community support brings disc golf, dog areas, splash pads

By David Trinko - dtrinko@limanews.com



Grant J. Mumaugh, of Bluffton, releases his shot while playing disc golf on the first hole at Ottawa Memorial Park on Monday. Mumaugh is trying to bring a disc golf course to Bluffton’s parks. Area park boards say they welcome ideas from residents, especially if they can help raise the funds to bring their unique ideas to fruition.

Grant J. Mumaugh, of Bluffton, releases his shot while playing disc golf on the first hole at Ottawa Memorial Park on Monday. Mumaugh is trying to bring a disc golf course to Bluffton’s parks. Area park boards say they welcome ideas from residents, especially if they can help raise the funds to bring their unique ideas to fruition.


David Trinko | The Lima News

Grant J. Mumaugh, of Bluffton, wants to bring a disc golf course to Bluffton.

Grant J. Mumaugh, of Bluffton, wants to bring a disc golf course to Bluffton.


David Trinko | The Lima News

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

Check out our interactive database with amenities at local parks in the Info Center at LimaOhio.com/infocenter.

BLUFFTON — Grant J. Mumaugh got hooked on playing disc golf as soon as he released his first tee shots.

“I guess I didn’t really know what to expect the first time, but it was fun for sure,” said Mumaugh, 20, an apprentice at Grob Systems in Bluffton and a student at Rhodes State in Lima. “I just liked seeing the disc and how they flew, getting used to the different ones and what each one was used for.”

While he was hooked on the game, it hasn’t necessarily caught on everywhere. The only nearby courses were in Ada, Delphos, Lima, Kalida and Ottawa. Thus began a quest to bring a course a little closer to home, in the Bluffton parks.

Now a group of his friends and village officials are working on a public/private fundraising campaign to raise $20,000 to $25,000 to put a course in Bluffton’s Village Park.

It’s a challenge park officials know all too well: Residents have great ideas to add splash pads, pickleball courts, volleyball pits or cornhole targets. Finding the money is as tough a challenge as landing your disc into the basket on your first toss.

“People call in now and again with ideas of certain things they’d like to see possibly integrated in the parks,” said Tyler Black, director of the Johnny Appleseed Parks District in Allen County. “There’s only so much space in the current parks we have, and the grant programs we use have some restrictions on what exactly can go in those parks.”

Interest in area parks skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Black said the parks saw a 24% increase in visits, to nearly 910,000 visits, in 2020 compared to 2019.

Still, parks leaders feel the pressure to be frugal when considering new ideas beyond providing a walk in the park.

“We’ve always invited people’s thoughts, but at the end of the day it comes down to what we have available budget-wise,” said Ric Stolly, the deputy public works director for the City of Lima in charge of the Division of Parks and Recreation.

Brad Leis, the president of the park board in Ottawa, added, “Obviously one of the challenges is finances. What’s the cost of it? … How many people are going to benefit from it?”

Popularity of disc golf

Leis has a warm spot in his heart for parks. He grew up in Elida, which didn’t have a village park. He began his career as a teacher and cross country coach at Ottawa-Glandorf schools. His teams eventually began running through Ottawa’s Memorial Park.

While he’s retired from teaching and coaching, he still prepares the course for meets. He’s certainly noticed the popularity of the village’s disc golf course, with people from as far away as Fort Wayne, Bellefontaine and Fostoria visiting the 18-hole course, which the parks board recently invested in replacing broken chains, fixing baskets and repainting. The village, which has had the course for more than a decade, worked with the Ottawa-Glandorf Rotary Club to replace signs along the course too.

“You talk to people from all over Northwest Ohio, and they talk about what a great disc golf facility that is,” Leis said.

Johnny Appleseed Parks District has a course at Ottawa Metro Park. Black dreams of adding a second course in the county.

“I’d like to possibly expand that to another park,” Black said. “It would be great to have that same amenity on the west side of the county somewhere. It really sticks out.”

Mumaugh said he often plays the course on Lima’s east side around class times at Rhodes State. He’s noticed the popularity growing.

“With COVID and all that, everybody saw disc golf as a huge thing you can do safely but still be outside,” Mumaugh said. “From the time where we started our project in Bluffton, the interest has already grown.”

It’s a popular add-on to existing parks, as the baskets can be placed in existing greenspaces without drastically altering the landscape. Still, at more than $500 apiece for permanent baskets and concrete pads for tee boxes, it does have a cost.

In the case of the Bluffton disc golf course, people can donate to the village’s park fund. They’re still working out other ways to raise money, perhaps starting a GoFundMe account in the future, as part of the public/private partnership, said Jesse Blackburn, Bluffton’s village administrator. The idea has already been presented through the parks committee, the council and the shade tree commission.

“The fact it’s already built into the existing maintenance is the ideal thing about this,” Blackburn said. “It attracts people to portions of your parks that they’ve never been in. I walked the course with the people who presented it, and it’s a pretty cool idea.”

Upgrading and maintaining

The image is still ingrained in the mind of Ric Stolly, the deputy public works director for the City of Lima in charge of the Division of Parks and Recreation.

“I was in Lincoln Park one afternoon to address something else, and I saw this handicapped young man struggling to get to a swing set,” Stolly said. “He crawled across the mulch and dirt to that swing. I remember that being a defining moment in my mind that we’ve got to do something about this. We need to do better.”

In 2017, Stolly began a plan to renovate the playground equipment throughout Lima’s parks. He discovered some of the equipment dated back to the 1950s and 1960s, when safety and inclusivity weren’t as important.

Since then, the parks department has spent nearly $1.1 million on equipment and installation costs at Faurot, Martin Luther King Jr. and Robb parks. None of it could happen without donations, he said.

“We’ve been very blessed with a generous community,” Stolly said. “We’ve been very blessed with the grants we’ve received and competed for, successfully, and put those dollars to good use for Lima and the surrounding community. It’s about quality of life for us and for our community.”

The newer equipment has better fall zones for safety, but they also offer more features to include adults in playing. That includes an all-inclusive playground at Lincoln.

Keeping things up to date is important at any local park. Leis noted the Ottawa parks have converted a walking track in Memorial Park from mulch to crushed limestone, as well as upgrading swimming pool equipment and putting pavers near a pavilion in the park.

“Memorial is tucked away right in the center of town,” Leis said. “It’s kind of like a hidden gem.”

Creativity and generosity

When community groups work with local parks, creative amenities often appear.

The Wapak Dog Park opened in Wapakoneta on West Auglaize Street near the wastewater treatment plant in 2014. It was an Eagle Scout project for Travis Rohrbach, including two enclosures — a 16,000 square foot green space for smaller dogs and a 60,000 square foot spot for larger dogs.

Glandorf Park in Glandorf has several unique features developed as service projects, including a free putt-putt course and outdoor exercise equipment along a walking path and soccer fields. Many improvements at the park in the past were funded by the well-attended Glandorf Park Festival.

Ottawa is working on finding a way to put a splash pad and pickleball courts in its parks.

Lima has asked its residents to speak up on replacing the swimming pool at Schoonover Park.

Four Seasons Park in Kalida opened in 2015 and includes a number of unique aspects, including a disc golf course, cornhole to go along with more standard features such as ball diamonds and soccer fields. On Monday, another group will break ground on $2 million worth of renovations to the village’s Holy Name Ballpark, including a turf infield and grass outfield and upgrades to the seating.

Ultimately, almost any idea is feasible if people are willing to work to make it happen, Bluffton’s Blackburn said.

“One of the great things I love about my job is the ability to facilitate the great ideas your residents have and your colleagues have, whatever it may be, and make it for the public to enjoy it,” Blackburn said. “It’s pretty darned cool.”

Grant J. Mumaugh, of Bluffton, releases his shot while playing disc golf on the first hole at Ottawa Memorial Park on Monday. Mumaugh is trying to bring a disc golf course to Bluffton’s parks. Area park boards say they welcome ideas from residents, especially if they can help raise the funds to bring their unique ideas to fruition.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/07/web1_DiscGolf2.jpgGrant J. Mumaugh, of Bluffton, releases his shot while playing disc golf on the first hole at Ottawa Memorial Park on Monday. Mumaugh is trying to bring a disc golf course to Bluffton’s parks. Area park boards say they welcome ideas from residents, especially if they can help raise the funds to bring their unique ideas to fruition. David Trinko | The Lima News
Grant J. Mumaugh, of Bluffton, wants to bring a disc golf course to Bluffton.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2021/07/web1_DiscGolf1.jpgGrant J. Mumaugh, of Bluffton, wants to bring a disc golf course to Bluffton. David Trinko | The Lima News
Community support brings disc golf, dog areas, splash pads

By David Trinko

dtrinko@limanews.com

ONLY ON LIMAOHIO.COM

Check out our interactive database with amenities at local parks in the Info Center at LimaOhio.com/infocenter.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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