Flint River Flotilla 2018 Was GREAT!

On Saturday, August 4, hundreds of people floated down the beautiful Flint River from Tenacity Brewing on Grand Traverse Street to the west end of the Mott Park Recreation Area. The weather was warm and sunny. They came in canoes, kayaks, rafts, inner tubes, and many other interesting floating contraptions. At the rec area, they were met by food trucks and began the party that followed them back to Tenacity and continued into the evening.

Last year, the flotilla had to be cancelled due to the dredging operations up-stream from the Hamilton Dam. The contractors were removing age-old coal tar contamination from the coal gassification plant that supplied lighting gas to the city in the gaslight era prior to Flint’s electrification. After the noxious chemicals were removed from the river bed and banks, work began on the removal of the dam, which is now GONE!

The cancellation of last year’s flotilla gave the organizers the opportunity to use the funds donated (with consent of the donors) to begin the planning for a permanent, improved canoe and kayak launch at the rec area. Over the winter, plans were completed. During the spring and summer, funds have been raised and permits have been obtained for construction. We expect work to begin shortly on a launch ramp just down-stream from the site we have been using for the flotillas.

Next year, we plan to use the new Mott Park Recreation Area Canoe and Kayak Launch to service the 2019 Flint River Flotilla.

Learn to Play Disc Golf!

MPRA - learn to play

This event is free to all who come to the recreation area. Purchase of the $1 Tourist Passport gives you access to the shuttle service between all the events and locations and free admission to most venues visited. Purchase before July 7 enters you into a drawing for 2 tickets to the Ally Challenge golf tournament at Warwick Hills.

During this event, the disc golf course will be open, but play will be restricted to holes 4-17. Holes 1-3 and 18 will be used for instruction.

We Have A Great Summer Coming Up

Last year was a great year for the Mott Park Recreation Area. We received support through Kettering University for our grounds maintenance efforts, we received grants for the development of a Disc Golf Course and we actually built it and opened it. This year, we are working with the Flint River Watershed Coalition to install a Canoe and Kayak Launch Site on the banks of the Flint River.

The engineering studies for the launch site are complete and the permitting process is underway. We hope construction will begin shortly and the site will be ready for the Flint River Flotilla which is scheduled for Saturday, August 4, 2018.

Over the winter, a forestry firm removed a large cottonwood tree which had fallen across the river between the two footbridges. This spring, the brush and lower tree branches, and a couple dead trees, were cleared around the parking lot and the club house to improve visibility for aesthetic, safety, and security reasons. Our association worked with the city of Flint on these projects.

In a response to last fall’s problems in the parking lot, the city has had new security cameras installed in the club house and the maintenance barn, and will soon have more installed in the parking lot now that the forestry work has been completed. These cameras are part of the Flint Police Department’s C.A.T.T.-EYE program to provide real-time monitoring and a prompt response to security issues at businesses and other locations in our community. The association had C.A.T.T.-EYE signs and a flashing green beacon installed to advise our users, our neighbors, and any potential violators that the system is in place.

In the meantime, our 18-Hole Disc Golf Course has been thriving. Despite cold and snow, it was used by golfers throughout the winter months. Often they brought shovels with them to remove snow from the tee pads. With the end of winter, there were a few times when the river was high and much of the course was under water and some of the target baskets were clogged with flood debris, but the waters receded and the golfers and course workers returned to removed the debris. We did lose our practice target to a collision with a snowmobile, but we expect to have it re-installed soon.

Lately, our problems have been the phenomenal rate of growth of the grass on the course combined with frequent showers which have kept portions of the rec area too wet to mow regularly. Our groundskeepers are working hard to keep up the course and pasture areas and are hoping for slightly dryer weather as summer approaches.

We are monitoring the dam removal projects upstream and are hopeful that the water flows in the river will be sufficient to support canoe and kayak traffic and fishing opportunities.

 

It’s Been A GREAT Year!

We have had a great year at the Mott Park Recreation Area. We have kept the area up, installed new equipment for new activities and are making plans for the future.

The year started with a donation from Kettering University to support our grounds maintenance efforts. With it, we have maintained our equipment: a large, old, Toro diesel mower, a Toro Workman course truck, a small riding mower and assorted trimming and  cutting equipment. We have purchased diesel fuel and gasoline for the equipment and have kept the mowed areas of the recreation area in pretty good condition. Both the large mower and the truck are in for winter maintenance, and we will likely fully expend the donation when we pay the repair bills.

Shortly after the donation for grounds maintenance, we received a generous donation from The Flint-Town Flyerz disc golf club toward the development of a disc golf course on our property. We received city authorization for the project and got a matching donation for the course from Kettering University. We applied for and received a grant from the Community Foundation to complete funding for the project and, over the summer, we installed concrete tee-pads and galvanized steel targets. The course was completed in September, we inaugurated it with a tournament in October, and in November, we installed course signs marking each hole. We have some more work to accomplish next spring and will be looking for funding to complete and maintain the Mott Park Disc Golf Course.

We also received a donation this Summer toward beautification and security. When the disc golf course opened, we noticed a decrease in the amount of litter left around the recreation area. We attributed this to the increased utilization of the area by our disc golfers and the additional trash containers installed around the course. However, we have had an increase in crime in our parking lot. The city has become concerned about this and we are working with them to increase police patrols around the clubhouse and the parking lot. We have replaced the broken light fixtures around the clubhouse and our maintenance garage and are also looking at increasing the intensity of the parking lot lights. The city is considering replacing the camera and alarm systems in the clubhouse and garage with Internet-connected cameras.

For next year, we plan to install signs and markers around our natural areas and our Monarch Butterfly Waystation to better delineate the areas for our users and our grounds workers. We hope to install solar security lights and security cameras in selected areas around the recreation area. We want to improve our signage to better inform our park users of our facilities. We even hope to provide a porta-potty in our parking lot.

Our BIG project for next year we hope will be the installation of canoe and kayak launch facilities on the south bank of the Flint River, just west of the downriver footbridge near McLaren Hospital. This Paddlers’ Landing project is being sponsored the the Flint River Watershed Coalition which is coordinating planning, permitting, funding, and construction. We have high hopes that this project will bring additional users to our beautiful area to enjoy our park and the river which runs through it.

If you wish to contribute to the maintenance of our area or any of our projects, please go to our contributions page. All donations to the Mott Park Recreation Area are deductible as provided by law on your income taxes.

Turkey Trot Coming Up

The 2017 Turkey Trot, the 61st running of this series of races, will be held at the Mott Park Recreation Area on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 23. This continues our tradition of hosting the longest running race series in the state of Michigan.

Late registration will start at 8:00 AM. At 9:00 AM, the 1-mile race for kids 13 and under will start along with the 2-mile race for kids 15 and under. At 9:30, the 3-mile run/walk will start with 8 age categories from 17 and under to over 60.

Registration for those 17 and under is $5.00, $15.00 for adults. If you cannot afford the registration fee, come out and run anyway! The on-line registration site can be found at this link. If you need a paper sign up sheet to turn in at Bauman’s or at the clubhouse on the day of the race, use this link to view and download the PDF file.

Runners are reminded that when the parking lot is full, there is on-street parking on the NORTH side of Nolen Drive and on Weller and Dougherty streets. There is NO PARKING on the SOUTH side of Nolen or behind the curb on the grass.

Disc golfers please note: the disc golf course will be closed to play from dawn on Thanksgiving Day until the last runners are off the course. Thank you for your cooperation. If you show up early, please feel free to run or walk the race.

Disc Golf Grand Opening!

This weekend, October 21-22, the Mott Park Recreation Area celebrated the Grand Opening of our new disc golf course. On Saturday, we hosted a sanctioned tournament for our home team, the Flint Town Flyerz. Seventy-two disc golfers vied for prizes ranging from discs to cash competing in three categories. The Flyerz brought in a couple portable baskets to lengthen the course for the higher category players and painted “long” tees on the sidewalk and trail.  The weather was ideal with sun, light winds and warm temperatures.

On Sunday, the Flyerz conducted a clinic for 35 youngsters to learn about disc golf. From 10 until noon, holes 1-3, and 18 were reserved for kids up to 16 to learn from experienced chain bashers. All the kids were given three or four FREE DISCS. It was a beautiful day and everyone enjoyed themselves.

There is NO CHARGE to play our disc golf course at any time. It is freely open to the public with no preference given to residents of Flint or our nearby neighborhoods. If the course is reserved for tournament play or a special event, the entrants may be charged an entry fee by the organizers and public play may be suspended during the event.

If you wish to support the operation of our disc golf course, please go to our contributions page to find out how to make a donation.

Disc Golf Course Should Be Opening SOON at the MPRA

Our first major project from our Master Plan is getting closer to completion. We have received a contribution from the Flint Town Flyerz Disc Golf Association, a contribution from Kettering University, a grant from the Community Foundation, and have advanced some of our own funds in anticipation of community support. About 1/2 of our funds have been expended and work is proceeding.

A disc golf course is made up of concrete or gravel tee pads (ours will be concrete) from which the golfers launch their discs and targets (chain baskets on poles) which catch the discs (when you are fortunate enough to hit them.) Our local disc golf association, the Flint Town Flyerz, worked with us to lay out the course to minimize any effect on our other recreation area users: walkers, bicyclers, paddlers, fishermen, and especially our butterflies and other wildlife.

We have ordered and received 20 targets (chain baskets) and anticipate installing them later this month, after we set the poles. We will have 18 holes and one practice target, with one target in reserve.

In the meantime, the course designers have laid out 18 tee pads and volunteer students from Kettering dug the holes for them last month and the grounds crew built forms for them last week. This past weekend, about 30 volunteers worked all day to pour 9 tee pads. This coming Saturday, September 16, we will pour the remaining 9 tee pads. If you would like to help out, please come out to the rec area at 9 am (wear OLD clothes, concrete splashes).

Once the tee pads are completed, we will schedule work parties to dig the holes for the target posts, cement the posts in the ground, and then install the baskets. Eventually we expect to have 2 or 3 tee pad locations and 2 or 3 alternative target locations for each hole to allow us to vary the challenge of the course from time to time, just like a standard golf course, but that work is yet to be planned.

The Flint Town Flyerz have found a sponsor to make and donate signage for the course, to identify the holes and direct players around the course. They have also committed to running classes to teach the fundamentals of disc golf to community youngsters and any else who is interested. Our course will become the new home course of the Flint Town Flyerz, but it will be freely open to everyone when not reserved for a tournament. We anticipate a lot of use by the students at Kettering and we hope that we can organize teams of golfers from the nearby neighborhoods to enjoy our course.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to our Mott Park Recreation Area Disc Golf Course, please check out our Contributions page. Donations are deductible on your Federal Income Tax as provided by law.