A Dallas neighborhood is taking a unique approach to combating crime in its area — disc golf.
Go Oak Cliff is an advocacy group with the stated mission of developing North Oak Cliff as the "most livable community in the nation."
The group is leading an effort to construct a disc golf course at Oak Cliff Founders Park, a triangular piece of property bounded by Marsalis Avenue and Zang and Colorado boulevards.
"As we all know, more eyes on a park makes it safer,” Go Oak Cliff's Amy Cowan said.
The park has a series of picturesque trails and a rolling topography not seen in other parts of the city, in addition to an impressive view of the city skyline.
A check of Dallas police records returned nearly two dozen crimes reported within a three-block radius around Founders Park since last November, including multiple robberies, assaults and theft calls.
"[Disc golf] should bring more people here," Cowan said. "And more people should hopefully rid us of some of the less desirable activity that’s been going on in this beautiful park."
The idea to use disc golf as a crime deterrent was born three years ago in the mind of former Oak Cliff resident Zac Lytle.
The city planner in Lytle saw Founders Park as pretty, but underutilized and lacking a reason for legitimate users to be there. The father in Lytle saw disc golf as a perfect activity for he and his young son, Roger.
In April 2014, though, Roger suffocated in an accident at his day care. He was 7 months old.
"We only had him for seven months, but it’s just some great times that we had," Lytle said, recalling memories of strapping Roger into his backpack and playing disc golf. "I’m not really the most serious disc golf player or anything like that, but it was just a really special time to go out and be able to be outside and something that he was able to be with me during that time. And it’s just a really special memory."
Since that time, the Lytle family has left North Oak Cliff for southeast Africa. Zac Lytle’s wife, Dr. Heather Lytle, is an OB/GYN who is taking part in a two-year fellowship through the Baylor hospital system in Malawi.
"We no longer are living in Dallas, but we'll always consider Oak Cliff our home," Lytle said via video chat. "We have a lot of really good friends there. It’s just an amazing community we still feel a part of."
Some of those friends, like Amy Cowan, who are leading the effort to make the Roger William Lytle Disc Golf Course a reality.
"People in our neighborhood were just torn up and not sure how to help [the Lytles] and support them," Cowan told NBC 5. "And so we channeled some of that energy into rallying around them to help support Zac’s vision for the disc golf course."
Fundraising for the course is about $1,800 short of its intended goal, and the plan is to begin construction in Founders Park in early 2016.