For a couple years now my friend Scott O’Connor and I have been beating the drum to try to get a disc golf course established in the city. As the popularity of the sport continues to grow throughout the country and outlying areas of Greater Buffalo, the need for an urban course has actually begun to gain some traction as of late.
One of the sites that we originally looked at a couple years back was the former Tee to Green at Amherst Street and Tonawanda – a sprawling property that was purchased (see history) by the Ambassador Bridge Company (ABC) after the guy behind the Tee to Green business bamboozled his investors and was caught in the act. For years now, ever since ABC purchased the property at a fire sale, the land has been nothing but a dumping ground and an eyesore. Considering that the site is bordered by Scajaquada Creek, there is no reason that an out-of-state property holder with deep pockets should not be held responsible for the condition of the land.
Recently, Scott and I sat down with Assemblyman Sean Ryan to discuss the potential of the property, and brought to his attention the short term possibility of using the land for a disc golf course (until either the ABC makes use of it or a greater use is identified by another party). There is no reason that the fallow land should not be improved upon immediately. A disc golf course would be the perfect low lift project that would utilize many of the former golf course configurations. By bringing disc golfers onto the property, the abandoned parcel would come back to life in variety of ways – as a natural landscape, a disc golf course and possibly even a sculpture park. Not only has the land been partially reclaimed by nature (there are now beautiful meadows populated by songbirds), there are a number of stakeholders that we have identified that we believe would be interested in helping to implement the disc golf course concept.
This morning, Assemblyman Sean Ryan held a press conference where he called out to Dan Stamper, President of ABC, to help to find a solution to a problem that the company has been shoveling upon Buffalo for quite some time. Ryan stated that ABC has been a good neighbor back in Detroit, but conversely has done nothing to better the city of Buffalo since it acquired the property. Ryan pointed out the great potential of the site, and the relatively low lift of developing the land for recreational use. He also stated that for years out-of-state property owners have been speculating on city properties, and that practice needs to be addressed and stopped. At this point, the ball is in ABC’s court, and now that Ryan has officially entered the game he will hopefully force the hand of ABC to make a move in some direction.