GREENSBORO — Keeley Park has two new exciting features — a tournament-quality disc golf course and a mountain bike trail for beginners. And, there’s more to come.
The City Council will vote on another $2.2 million worth of upgrades Nov. 19 for the 114-acre city-owned regional park.
The whole project — including what will be the largest playground in the Piedmont, outdoor fitness equipment and new picnic shelters — is the fulfillment of the 2016 master plan upgrade. Residents are invited to a ceremonial groundbreaking and preview of the project designs from 10 to 11 a.m. Dec. 18 at 4110 Keeley Park Road in McLeansville.
“This project will be transformational,” said Vonda Martin, a Parks and Recreation planner working on the project.
Keeley Park is at the edge of the city limits in northeast Greensboro. The former farmland was the city’s nursery from 1973-2000.
Disc golf course for pros, and a trail for beginners
Keeley Park’s first phase of development included a popular sprayground, community garden and playground. The disc golf course and mountain bike trail are the first features of this second phase of park development.
The new disc golf course opened after its first tournament, The Fallback Classic, on Nov. 2. It’s been long-awaited by the Greensboro disc golf community, who often travel an hour or more to play high-quality courses.
Andrew Duvall and Michael Shugart of Innova Disc Golf designed the 18-hole course.
“The city of Greensboro wanted to invest in their community with a top- level course,” Duvall said. “Keeley Park is as nice of a park as you will find in the country and the disc golf course had to match.”
Duvall and Shugart searched the property for the most aesthetically pleasing views. The course shows off rolling hills, large open areas, wooded areas, and even a fairway through a bamboo forest.
“It’s a lot like designing a great trail,” Duvall said. “It needs to tell a story and you need to have variety both in what you are playing and a variety in what you are looking at.”
Disc golf is played with similar rules to traditional golf. The Keeley Park course offers par 3s, 4s and 5s. Several holes have two tee pads, so players can get a variety of different experiences from the same course. It can be enjoyed by beginners and tournament players.
“The long tees have enough length to test the very best in the game,” Duvall said.
The new bike trail is designed for beginners. It adds a flowy, half-mile loop to the city’s existing system of mountain bike trails.
“It’s significant because it’s truly a beginner trail,” said Elizabeth Jernigan, Parks and Recreation’s trail planner.
It was designed and built by Benchmark Trails, and should be ready as soon as it has time to dry from recent rains.
The next phase of development is expected to begin this winter with construction taking place through much of 2020 on projects big and small throughout the park.
Major developments include the city’s first all-inclusive playground, renovations to make the sprayground more comfortable and a garden expansion.
The playground is part of the North Carolina Recreation and Park Association Healthy Play Initiative, where cities received help to build play spaces that use best practice designs to encourage children and families to be more active.
The theme for the new playground is Up in the AIR (Adaptive and Inclusive Recreation). It has a sunshine and cloud design scheme, and the play surface will be accessible for people who use wheelchairs or walking aids.
Swings, climbing equipment and other features are designed to be enjoyed by people with a wide range of abilities. The large jungle gym features wide decking that accommodates wheelchairs.
“There’s no other playground anywhere like it,” Martin said.
The sprayground’s footprint will be expanded to allow space for lounge chairs and a new shade structure.
Three additional picnic shelters, four cornhole courts, and a large open festival field will also provide more space for entertaining at the park. The field could be used for concerts or a farmer’s market.
The busy community garden will also get new features, including raised, accessible flower beds and an area for teaching classes.
Parks and Recreation will be unveiling the new project designs at the groundbreaking Nov. 19.