The Sketchley's Border Brigade archery club has support from the Webster City park and recreation commission for a proposal which includes a waiver for a fun shoot at Sketchley Park on Aug. 25 or Aug. 26.
City code states that, under chapter 48 section 17 that, "It shall be unlawful for a person to... shoot arrows... on or into any street, highway, alley, sidewalk or public place, except when under proper supervision of persons authorized by the council." City Manager Ed Sadler said in a message to the city council that their request to host an event without going through an approval process through parks and recreation and the city council is too premature and exposes the city and public to liability.
Recreation and public grounds director Kent Harfst said Sketchley Park is underutilized and hardly anyone goes to the park. He said it would be a nice use if safety concerns are cleared with the council and police. A waiver must be obtained by the city council to bypass that statute.
Interim club president Kent Schell and interim club vice president Jared Zimmer are interested in placing an archery range at the park. The proposed range would have a shooting platform with archers shooting northwest towards the wooded area of the park. The range would have targets on wood-fiber bales with targets every 10 yards starting at 10 and going up to 60 yards away from the platform. Schell said he has talked to businesses willing to donate money and materials for the range.
The club is also interested in a 3D archery range, which Schell said simulates hunting scenarios with animal shaped targets in the woods behind Sketchley Park. Schell found a used course in his native Minnesota that cost $3,000. The club has also been looking into areas for an indoor practice range to use during weather poor months.
Schell said the group was initially looking to file for nonprofit status so they can receive grant money. However, they cannot collect fees, dues or donations until they become a nonprofit. This has put the club in a tough position where they are unable to raise funds.
"For the club to get up and running and to make money to purchase this stuff, we need the stuff to make the money. A lot of the people are willing to give donations. They want to see us be able to put on an event before they're willing to donate to make sure that they're just not throwing money down a hole," Schell said.
The archery club's proposal lists a $10,000 budget to purchase the targets for the 3D range, practice range and indoor range as well as other expenses. But, Schell said the club could operate at $5,000 minimum. He estimated it could take the club years to raise that money on its own. However, the club is looking into applying for money from the hotel motel tax and from the Enhance Hamilton County Foundation, but they must get nonprofit status before they could receive that money and those grants would take time to reach the club. Schell estimated the legal fees to get nonprofit status from five to six hundred dollars.
The club may ask the city council for that upstart money. When asked if park and recreation could assist, Harfst said their budget becomes tighter every year and they would likely not be able to put money towards the club.
If the club can raise the money they need, Schell said it could bring in archers from surrounding areas and 3D clubs can bring in hundreds of archers per event which would bring money into Webster City.
"We're really not thinking pigeonhole. We're thinking whole community involvement where the community also gets some benefit from having a club here," Schell said.
Safety concerns have been noted by the club. Schell said that in the archery clubs he has held membership in, practice ranges would be accessible by those 16 and older. Younger archers would need a guardian with them. Schell also proposed an identification card for club members that have passed a proficiency test would allow archers to shoot legally. Webster City police would also be given a list of the club's members and Schell is interested in a temporary pass available for archers coming into town. He also proposed signage around the range which would say archers would be liable for their actions, which Schell said addresses the city's concern about liability.
With the support of the park and recreation commission interim club president Kent Schell and interim club vice president Jared Zimmer will take their proposal to the city council on Aug. 20.