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Washington County, Wisconsin to get first public archery range

Posted on May 3, 2012

West Bend, Wis. — The first public archery range in Washington County will open this fall provided enough private funding can be scraped together to get it started, according to Justin Casperson, the recreation supervisor for the city of West Bend.

“In early April, the city of West Bend Common Council approved the idea of developing the city’s (and county’s) first outdoor permanent public archery range,” he said.  “After years of investigating possible range locations, the Parks,

Recreation and Forestry Department will hopefully soon start construction.” 

Casperson said requests are received each year from people who want to shoot their bows in the city, but cannot do so because a public range is not available.

“People are disappointed when they’re told the closest free outdoor archery range is 15 miles away in Ozaukee County’s Tendick Park,” he said.  “Or they have to join a gun club or pay for range time at a local retail provider.”

Demand for the range has been increasing thanks to a youth archery program offered by West Bend’s park and recreation department, and the National Archery in the Schools Program.

“After several failed locations, the wastewater treatment plant property offers the best possible location,” he said. “The wastewater treatment plant personnel are open and willing to accommodate the range. Many of the safety provisions expected at a range are provided by the property configuration. It has controlled access points with a fence located to the east, and the Milwaukee River located to south and west. The archery range is away from residential houses, too. It provides ample safety areas behind and to the sides of the targets.”

Casperson said city officials contacted Waukesha, Brookfield, and Ozaukee parks and recreation departments to see how their ranges worked, and they received glowing reviews.

“No one had any accidents,” Casperson said. “This is a safe activity. And the ranges are relatively low-maintenance.”

No funds from the city will be used to fund the $7,000 construction costs, so they’re looking for private donors to help complete the project. So far, $1,200 has been raised, thanks to the West Bend Professional Firefighters Charity, Inc.

Mike Heinen is a motor pump operator for the fire department, and he’s also is the treasurer for the group.

“We probably have a dozen guys or so who are into archery and bowhunting,” Heinen said.  “Many are involved with local archery groups or clubs. We have a great park system in West Bend, and this range would make a really nice addition to it.”

If enough money can be raised, the archery range project could be ready by this fall.

“That is the goal anyway,” Casperson said. “We’re hoping that we can get the donors needed to get us to the $7,000. Once the range is established, it really won’t require much to keep it running.”

Anyone who would like to donate to the archery range project may call Casperson at (262) 335-5080.