Disc golf course to span Elm Creek

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Local News

September 24, 2019 - 10:36 AM

A water hazard will be added to the Elm Creek Disc Golf Course on South Washington Avenue, with four holes across the creek. REGISTER/RICHARD LUKEN

Disc golfers in Iola will soon have a water hazard to contend with.

Iola City Council members approved a request to add four holes to the Elm Creek Disc Golf Course on South Washington Avenue.

The Iola Community Involvement Task Force/PRIDE Committee will pay about $3,400 for the baskets, posts, concrete and Pampas grass and Lemongrass plantings, while the city will provide in-kind contributions in the form of labor to install the equipment.

The city’s contribution is valued at about $4,000.

Donna Houser, CITF/PRIDE member noted the original vision for the disc golf course was for 18 holes instead of nine. Funding dictated the smaller option.

Since then, the course has grown popular enough that CITF/PRIDE wanted to see it expand, particularly with the recent installation of the pedestrian bridge spanning Elm Creek.

All four holes will be added south of the creek, with golfers required to tee off from the north bank on one of the holes, City Administrator Sid Fleming noted. (Novice golfers will be allowed to tee off on the south side.)

Council members were receptive to the idea, voting 5-0 for the addition, but noted safety concerns.

Councilman Mark Peters noted the creek directly below the pedestrian bridge is only a few feet deep.

“I don’t want to see anybody diving into the water” in case a disc winds up in the drink, Peters noted.

He also pointed out all four holes are in close proximity to a power plant and electric substation south of the creek.

The substation has fencing and barbed wire, hopefully enough to discourage golfers from trying to scale it in case of a wayward disc toss, Fleming said.

 

THE CITY is no longer in the self-insurance business.

Council members voted, 5-0, to renew the city’s health insurance policies for its employees, with a few notable differences.

Rather than being self-insured, which occasionally proves costly for the city when too many catastrophic claims are filed — especially this year — Iola will be “fully insured” through Blue Cross Blue Shield.

That means BCBS will become the actual carrier and assume claims risks, Fleming explained.

Because of the high number of costly claims filed over the past three years, the city’s premiums spiked 28.57 percent for the upcoming year, Fleming noted.

That meant an additional cost projected at about $137,000 over what had been budgeted, had the city stayed with the self-insurance plan.

Going the fully insured route under BCBS will save about $93,000 from the higher projection, Fleming said.

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