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Plans increase city forest recreation options

Two plans improving recreation opportunities in the Superior Municipal Forest — a revamped archery range and a new 18-hole disc golf course — are in the works.

Over the next two years, the city plans to recreate the archery range to make it more accessible to the public. The new range will feature a youth target corridor course, a hunter simulation range and a roving or walking course.

The disc golf course would be installed in 2020 on land adjacent to the archery range in a plan approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission last week.

The Council considers funding for both projects when it meets Tuesday to discuss the city's capital improvement program.

The program includes about $250,000 in 2019 and $200,000 in 2020 for the archery range, and $40,000 in 2020 for the disc golf course, according to Parks, Recreation and Forestry Director Linda Cadotte.

"I really think with the money that's budgeted for the 2019 CIP, to really be able to set the parking lot, some of the site improvements and the roving course complete," Cadotte said.

She said the city has some of the materials needed for the project and anticipates in-kind contributions that will make the archery range project, estimated at $587,000, less costly and closer to figures included in the capital improvement program.

However, the plan has not garnered approval of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Thursday, the panel decided to delay approval until members could hear from groups likely to use the range.

"We're spending a lot of money. I think it's a good idea, but I'd like some input from the archery community," Commissioner Tom Wondolkowski said. "We didn't go off and do the skateboard park without getting input."

Cadotte said the final plan presented to the Commission late last week has been vetted by people who work for Feradyne Outdoors and Ravin Crossbows, as well as members of the Douglas County Fish and Game League. However, commissioners were unable to attend a public hearing on the plan.

"I like the idea of bringing other people in," Councilor Ruth Ludwig said. "Again, the more people we get input from, I think the more energy we create."

Council President Keith Kern, chairman of the commission, said while he believes the funding will be approved for the archery range Tuesday and he likes the design of the new range, he had concerns that partnerships for the project and maintenance of the range aren't in place. He wanted to make sure funding was in place before the plan is approved.

"We designed the course," Kern said. "We like it. It fits well. I love that we're using the forest, but there's so many variables that I'm afraid if we approve this thing, those variables are going to get lost and are not going to be translated through on the final design."

The Commission tabled the plan for further discussion at its next meeting, tentatively scheduled for Dec. 20.

However, the Commission did approve plans for a disc golf course in the Superior Municipal Forest, which is tentatively slated for funding in 2020.

The course would utilize the archery range parking lot with baskets on the trails and in the woods on both sides of North 42nd Street.

"I've been pursuing a course here for a long time," said Charlie Deville, who unsuccessfully proposed turning Hog Island into a disc golf course. "And this is the only place that I've been told that it can happen. And Tyler (Masseth) has literally walked every corner of this forest, and basically, this is the area where we can put in an 18-hole course. So if Superior wants an 18-hole course, this is where it would go."

Masseth, who has been meeting with the Commission to design the course, said the plan has potential for all levels of play, and offers a beautiful area of the forest with terrain that doesn't require as much hiking as other courses in the Twin Ports.

"This is a very nice setting with very mild elevation changes," Deville said, adding that a ravine along the course is desirable. "We like trees. We like obstacles."

Deville said there would be no need to remove old-growth trees because they could work around them.

"One of the things we would be interested in is developing a tournament out here year after year," Masseth said. "We would definitely like to have a yearly event there. There's some real potential for a lot of fun and unique golf here."

The Council considers funding for both projects at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 4, in Room 201 of the Government Center to approve adjustments to the 2019 and adoption of the 2020 capital improvement programs.