In and Around Fitchburg, Massachusetts

This blog was created to discuss some of the positive aspects of living in Fitchburg, Massachusetts, that are often overlooked by outsiders and residents alike.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Frisbee Golf

At last night’s Park Board meeting, I learned that efforts are underway to bring a disc golf course to Fitchburg’s Coggshall Park. For those not familiar with the game, the idea is to land your Frisbee in a basket using as few throws as possible. Just like with traditional golf, each “hole” features a different par, distance, and terrain. The New England Flying Disc Association (NEFA) offers a lot more details about the intricacies of the game; in addition to the many people who just play occasionally for fun, there are some pretty hardcore players out there!

This Friday, July 10, at 4:30 p.m., a trial run of the proposed Coggshall course will take place. The event is free and open to anyone, and a big crowd would be great to show support for developing a permanent course. Late-comers are welcome, as the organizers realize that not everyone can make such an early start on a weekday. Discs will be provided, unless you happen to be an experienced player who would prefer to bring your own. Being a spectator is fine if you’d rather watch a bit before trying yourself.

The 18-hole course will begin and end at the South Street entrance to Coggshall Park. This area of the park was chosen because the road in this section has been closed for a number of years, and there are few hiking trails around. Therefore, other park visitors are unlikely to be disturbed by the Frisbee golfers, and the players will be able to enjoy a course free of vehicular and pedestrian obstacles.

Friday’s game will be played using a portable basket, but if feedback from the community is positive, fundraising efforts will begin to install permanent baskets along the course. (Course maintenance is done by volunteers, but baskets cost several hundred dollars each – generally local businesses are asked to consider sponsoring a basket.) The installation will not require modifying the natural landscape in any way, as the purpose of disc golf is to make use of the existing terrain. And perhaps the best part? The plan is to make the Fitchburg course free. This is exactly the kind of activity that would be a great fit for our city, something individuals and families can choose to do at any time, outdoors and at no cost. If you can, stop by Friday to check it out!

[9/4/09 addendum: The 7/10 trial run was lots of fun, and the city has given approval to move forward with development of an 18-hole course. There's a dedicated group of volunteers who are working hard to get the baskets set up and to begin fund-raising efforts - as of early September, several holes are already cleared. For the most up-to-date info about the status of the course, the Coggshall NEFA forum thread is the best source of info...or you can head to Coggshall and check things out for yourself!]


Thursday, July 02, 2009

Community 5K

Every June, Sergeant Mark Jackson of the Fitchburg Police Relief Association organizes a 5K race, with all proceeds donated to a community cause. This year, the Friends of Coggshall group was chosen as the event's beneficiary. Sgt. Jackson recognized the strong need for support to help rebuild the Stone House, and his efforts were beyond impressive.

The race is based at The Cellar, which conveniently permits the use of a covered garage in case of inclement weather. As has been the sad norm throughout this "summer," the forecast called for rain on the day of the race, but luckily it held off for the afternoon. The day began with a 5K walk in the Main Street and Fitchburg State College area, along the same course the runners later used. A kids' "fun run" was also arranged. Runners ranged in age from 12 to 76 years, and the overall winner finished in 16:06. Participants celebrated with grilled food, beer, and a fabulous raffle that included running gear, gift certificates to local businesses, and even a limited edition print of a Stone House painting done by a local artist.

Sgt. Jackson and his team of volunteers put so much work into this event yet somehow managed to make it look easy. The numerous sponsors and participants also helped make for a great day. The race was just one more example of how people in Fitchburg come together to support the community. Now that I know about this annual event, I look forward to being a part of it in the years to come, and hopefully some of you will consider volunteering or participating as well!

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