ALBERT LEA, Minn. (KTTC) -- Albert Lea's Bancroft Bay Park is the focus of a controversy among some outdoor enthusiasts and city officials. The dispute involves a new 18-hole disc golf course, near the park's lakeshore.
Albert Lea Park and Recreation told us Bancroft Bay's Disc Golf Expansion was approved by city officials in April. We're told by a concerned citizen the project was supposed to be completed in just 9 days with the help of volunteers, but it's the end of July, and work is still being done.
It's a sport that has "taken" off in the past few years.
"All my friends do it, it's cheap, it's fun," explained a disc golf enthusiast.
The sport is clearing the way for controversy at one local park.
"Nine holes up here at Bancroft Bay Park and we were approached earlier in the year about possibly expanding the park to eighteen holes," explained Jay Hutchison, Albert Lea Park and Recreation Director.
Hutchison said volunteers were supposed to clear only a few trees to make the 18 hole course. A few trees, has turned into these wide open meadows and piles of brush.
"They did probably trim a little more than we were expecting," stated Hutchison.
In fact, Deb Blowers said they've destroyed a public park, and a shoreline where animals roost.
"The players of the game can't stay on a specific path, the disc flies all over, it ends up in the water. If there was something on the shoreline it would be disturbed. I guess I'm questioning the land use," said Blowers.
While city officials admit more trees were cut down than planned, they're promising to restore the shoreline
"I don't know how old the trees were, if they were 2 or 3 hundreds year old trees, but nature does restore itself,' stated Hutchison.
"I guess I can't understand how that restoration is going to take place, to bring it back to its natural habitat," explained Blowers.
Blowers told us she has no problem with the game of disc golf, but is frustrated with how much of the park was cut down to make the course. If you're concerned about the damages to the park, Blowers is urging you to stand up and voice concerns to city officials.
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