Parks and Facilities Maintenance Supervisor Brad Schwenke welds a disc golf basket into place, while Laborer V Tim Moore (below) touches up the paint on one of those borrowed from Boone County.
Help from Boone County Parks, others critical
COVINGTON, Ky. – The 18 “baskets” don’t match, but the Covington Disc Golf Course is put back together, and playable.
Three days after a thief or thieves stole or destroyed most of the course’s brand-new baskets in the middle of the night, the course reopened in Devou Park – thanks to a generous offer from a fellow local government, some begging and borrowing, a trip by truck and trailer, and some in-the-middle-of-the-woods welding.
Today’s reopening carried a bit less pomp than the formal opening ceremony just last Saturday, but it was no less welcomed.
“The original course is back in action and ready to be played – in fact, people are already playing it,” reported Jason Roberts, supervisor of the Urban Forestry Division, which includes Devou Park, late this morning.
As angry and discouraged as he was by the theft and vandalism earlier this week, Covington Parks & Rec Manager Ben Oldiges said his spirits were lifted by everything that has happened since.
“We really appreciate the support – it’s incredible how we were able to put this back together so quickly, thanks to all the people who rallied together,” Oldiges said. “So many people reached out and offered to pay for new baskets, and we’re just sorting through all those offers.”
Temporarily, however, the City was able to cobble together 18 baskets to go with the two practice baskets and tees. Here’s where they came from:
- 5 were original and untouched by the thieves.
- 6 came from storage, since Parks & Rec had bought extra, originally hoping to build a 24-hole course.
- And 7 came out of the 8 used baskets lent to the City by the Boone County Parks Department, which has its own course.
Oldiges said that Boone County Parks officials reached out with the generous offer, after getting permission from the county administration.
“They’re letting us borrow the baskets for free until we can buy new ones,” he said.
A Covington Public Works crew drove out Thursday to pick up the baskets, then spent the morning installing them. They also welded them into place to make them more secure.
Locks holding the original baskets had been secured with professional grade locks that had been cut. While three of the removed baskets had been found in pieces elsewhere in the park, tire tracks and damaged trees suggested a truck or trucks had been used to cart away the others, which measured about 6-feet tall and 3-feet around.
Covington Police are investigating the theft. The public can call Detective Gregg Andrews with tips at (859) 292-2271.
A release about the incident can be read at "Disc golf baskets cut off, stolen."
A release about last Saturday’s opening can be read at “Devou has 18 new holes …”
Between Saturday and Tuesday, more than 700 people had played a full round of disc golf on the new course.
“Based on those numbers and the support the City has received in the last couple of days, I’d say this course is going to grow in popularity,” Oldiges said.