Boise Parks and Recreation on Wednesday night held a public meeting to discuss four proposed areas for relocating the archery range that’s currently at Military Reserve.
The archery range must be moved as part of the recently approved plan to revamp the Military Reserve dog park and add a bike skills park. As part of the relocation, Parks and Rec will add another target, bringing the total to nine and increasing the available target distances to 80 yards.
Parks and Rec landscape architect Toby Norton opened the meeting at the Boise High School library by presenting each of the options the agency is considering:
▪ Veterans Memorial Park: This option would put the 2 1/4-acre range in an undeveloped part of Veterans Memorial Park, at State Street and Veterans Parkway. Though it offers amenities and ample parking, Norton said this option is least desirable as it would require Parks and Rec to erect a berm at the back of the range to ensure safety of nearby park and Greenbelt users.
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▪ Murgoitio Park: This Southwest Boise site is entirely undeveloped and abuts farmland used by the Murgoitio family, Norton said. It’s another undesirable option, he said, because of its distance from town and lack of existing infrastructure. There are also safety concerns about children from nearby schools who sometimes walk through the area.
▪ Near Fort Boise Military Reserve Cemetery: It’s the closest location to the existing archery range, with graded topography that’s ideal for an archery range, Norton said. However, some attendees at the meeting expressed concerns that an archery range may not be the most appropriate neighbor to the cemetery.
▪ Military Reserve Police Shooting Range: Norton said the shooting range has “everything we need” — an existing fence, ideal topography, parking and other amenities. It’s a mile and a half from the existing archery range and has no nearby trails, making it Parks and Rec’s preferred location.
Norton said the agency has not yet calculated costs for the options.
About 50 people attended the hourlong meeting, raising questions about parking, range maintenance and amenities. Most of the comments revolved around the proposed shooting range site, the frontrunner for the relocation. Some attendees worried that police activity at the shooting range — which would still occupy the northern corner of the area — would be distracting for archers.
“It’s pretty challenging to have a good session when there’s active shooting going on,” said one attendee.
Though the Boise Police Department still uses the range, Parks and Rec officials said firearms training at the location is infrequent at best. A new shooting range was opened on Kuna Mora Road in 2017 and hosts the bulk of the department’s training.
Others worried about the status of lead cleanup at the shooting range. The city hired a contractor in 2017 to sift through dirt banks at the site and clean up bullets and other pollutants. Norton said the site meets safety standards.
If the shooting range is approved as the relocation site, Parks and Rec will have to raze an existing building to allow space for the archery range. That construction plus other cleanup and setup of the archery equipment could take about three weeks, said Parks Superintendent Jennifer Tomlinson.
Tomlinson said the agency is working to coordinate range relocation with construction of the dog park and bike skills park to minimize closures.
The Parks and Recreation commission will see the master plan for the relocation at its monthly meeting on Feb. 21. If approved, the relocation should be complete sometime in April or May, Tomlinson said.
Learn more about the proposed sites or offer your own thoughts to Parks and Rec here.