ALLEGANY – A new activity for young and old has made a quiet move into Gargoyle Park.

Owned by the City of Olean, the park comprises 49 acres of forest and grassy parkland. Thanks to the efforts of the city council and the Twin Tiers Disc Golf Club, an 18-hole disc golf course has been established. The facility is the first public golf course in Cattaraugus County and is free to use.

“We’re really excited – it’s going to be a great use for this park,” said Kris Shewairy, coordinator for the city’s Department of Youth and Recreation. “The church is very receptive to this.”

A temporary map of the course has been set up at hole 1 and users can also access a map by downloading the UDisk app for smartphones.

According to the Professional Disc Golf Association, the aim of the game is to complete the course with as few throws as possible. Starting at each hole at a tee, players throw towards the target, throwing from the point where the last disc throw ended. The rules for turning, par for courses, etc. are similar to golf.

While the game can be played with a generic, inexpensive disc, many players opt for special discs for different types of shots – much like a golfer using different clubs for different shots.

Beginning in November, following the blessing of the Olean Common Council, disc golfers and the city worked to raise funds for the place from local businesses and patrons. Shewairy thanked local disc golf enthusiasts for their hard work, saying the biggest problem with the course is ordering the targets due to the pandemic.

Mayor Bill Aiello said a ribbon cutting ceremony was scheduled for later in the season after course signs with sponsor lists and tee areas were installed.

“People have used it down there,” said the mayor, encouraging residents to visit the park for a taste.

New players are invited to join the Wednesday night league, which starts at 6pm on Wednesday in the park. Tournaments and clinics are also being planned.

TOGETHER WITH A NEW USE, City officials also intend to improve access to the park.

While Gargoyle Road is a town on Allegany Road, the section south of the flood control dam leading to the park is considered a private driveway and is the responsibility of the town. Because of their status and location, work on the worst stretches of road is not eligible for the state’s Consolidated Street and Highway Improvement Program – the grant that funds the vast majority of urban road rehabilitation projects.

The road has been deteriorating for years, causing discomfort and a makeshift lane through the grass next to the road for park visitors.

Since there are no dirt roads in the city, the Olean City Highway Department provided a crew and a grader – a large machine for smoothing dirt roads – to scrape the road as a first step in improvement.

“The goal is for the county to level it,” said Bob Ring, director of the Department of Public Works, hoping to get that job done this summer.

Between the disc golf and road improvements, Shewairy hopes more users will use the park. He noted that several weddings and family events have already been rented in the park this summer.

“We’re trying to market it,” he said, adding that anyone interested in a rental can call 376-5666.