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Flood Relief and Disc Golf

City moving forward on plan to add basin to open space off Summit Street that would relieve flooding around Raymond Circle and create a unique recreational opportunity for residents.

Residents who live around Raymond Circle will get some relief soon to their chronic flooding woes, along with a unique recreational opportunity next-door -- a disc golf course.

Members of the Conservation Commission will get their first look at plans for a new stormwater management basin located off of Summit Street tonight, the latest in the city’s ongoing effort to reduce the effects of flooding.

If approved and permitted, the basin would be constructed in an area of the city known as ‘Scouting Way,’ a 12-acre parcel of city-owned open space located between Summit Street and Raymond Circle near the Summit Industrial Park. By adding the basin in this area the city hopes to provide flood relief to the residents of Raymond Circle and the surrounding neighborhood, one of many areas of the city frequently affected by rising waters and storm water runoff during inclimate weather situations.

“We have been exploring several options for stormwater storage as part of the ongoing flood water mitigation project and this parcel was [identified] as an area that would provide the necessary storage,” said City Planner Brendan Callahan. “It is an undeveloped 12-acre parcel of mostly forested land, although there are some existing trails on the property as well.”

Callahan‘s project proposal is double-barreled, as along with the practical construction of the storage basin will come a recreational component for residents in the form of a 9-hole disc golf course.

Combining features from both golf and Frisbee, Disc Golf features many of the same rules as traditional golf, but the ‘holes’ take the form of stand up baskets and the ball is replaced by a Frisbee. The sport is growing in popularity throughout the country with some states beginning to hold actual sanctioned championship competitions. Locally, residents can find courses as close to home as Topsfield.

The idea for the Disc Golf course came about primarily because of a condition included in the land deed that stated any development of the parcel must feature a recreational component.

Since acquiring the land from several years ago, the city has kicked around the usual ideas of athletic fields and playgrounds, but the Disc Golf course proved not only the most unique, but the most cost-effective option, not to mention one that would allow more space for storm water management -- the primary focus of the project.

“We explored all of the recreational options, your soccer fields, baseball fields and that sort of thing,” Callahan said. “But the Frisbee Disc course was really the lowest cost to the city both to build and to maintain.”

The $1.8 million project will be engineered and and carried out by the Horsley Witten Group of Newburyport, a company Callahan said the city is familiar with through past storm water management projects. Tonight’s meeting, which begins at 7 p.m. in the lower level of , will be the first step in getting the project off the ground, but there is no timetable for its start or completion.

“Hopefully we can get it approved and permitted in one or two meetings here and get started,” Callahan said.

The project will be funded by monies the city has received for flood mitigation.

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