Networks Northwest

Herman Park Disc Golf

Creating a recreation opportunity demanded by community members

Students Ian Plamondon and Matt Collins at Suttons Bay High School, working on a Senior Project for their English course, came up with a project idea to pursue building a disc golf course in Suttons Bay. They were inspired by Connor Miller, Student Civic Engagement Coordinator with NorthSky Nonprofit Network a program of Rotary Charities of Traverse City. Miller presented to the Suttons Bay Senior English class regarding a placemaking process (based on the Northern Michigan Community Placemaking Guidebook) as a means for students to identify and carry forward improvement projects in community spaces. The students gained valuable experience as they surveyed potential public sites, collected input from fellow students, presented to Township Commission and Board meetings, and worked with local officials and professionals. Not only did the students gain experience, but the community and local government benefitted from this collaborative project as well. Development of a disc golf course at Herman Community Park increased activity of a community asset and provides recreation opportunities demanded by the public. 

The disc golf course is near full completion with all 18 of the baskets and 14 of the 18 tee boxes placed in fall 2012, just eight months after Miller's class presentation. A web design student at Northwestern Michigan College, Nicole Wolf, is designing the course map and signage to be installed Spring 2013. The funds to purchase the signs have been provided by a Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation Youth Endowment of $700.

The installation of this course, with the addition of soccer goals on the property, have provided active recreation in the space and are helping to spearhead greater development efforts for the park. The project has spurred fundraising efforts for future tennis courts and continued active involvement of youth in the development of parks and recreation opportunities throughout the Suttons Bay community. 

This project has been made successful by a wonderful community collaboration that brought public school, municipal, and private-sector interests together to enhance a community asset. A special thanks are given to  Lori Wille, Suttons Bay High School English Teacher; Ian Plamondon (Class of 2012), Matt Collins (Class of 2012), Chase Pattison (Class of 2013), Grant Smith (Class of 2013) and Matt Pigg (Class of 2013), Suttons Bay High School students; Bill Drozdalski, Suttons Bay Township Trustee; Suttons Bay Township Parks and Recreation Committee members, especially Jesse Chapman; Mark Hoffman, Suttons Bay Disc Golf Course Designer; Nicole Wolf, NMC Web Design student; Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation for their Youth Endowment of $700; and an anonymous donor of $10,000 providing the funding necessary to complete the Disc Golf Course. 

For information on Student Placemaking efforts at Herman Park Contact Connor Miller:, or Justin Sterk:  

For information on future development of Herman Park Contact Bill Drozdalski:

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