Hamilton County’s parks department is building a state-of-the-art archery range east of Cicero in hopes of hosting major competitions—possibly including Olympic trials.
Plans call for more than 100 shooting stations, including a so-called 3D archery trail featuring variable-distance targets that look like deer, turkeys and the like.
Site work has started at Strawtown Koteewi Park, 750 acres of prairie and wetlands hugging the banks of the White River near East 234th Street. The county park also has trails (for people and horses), a canoe launch and a natural history center.
The archery range has been in the works for years, county parks Director Al Patterson said, but the project gained momentum last year thanks to grant from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources that covered nearly three-quarters of the $715,000 cost.
Hollywood also helped. Recent box-office hits like “The Hunger Games” and “Brave” have fired up participation in the sport nationwide, and Patterson said local interest also is high.
“We’ve gotten so many calls already, it’s absolutely amazing,” he said. “Once we got going, it took off at a fever pace.”
The range is designed to attract large-scale archery tournaments, Patterson said, and engineers have taken pains to ensure it would meet the requirements for Olympic trials.
Construction should start soon on a 5,000-square-foot building that will house a pro shop, some classroom space and the range manager.
County officials solicited bids from private vendors interested in operating the range and are finalizing a deal with Anderson-based Girt Archery.
If everything goes off without a hitch, Patterson said the facility could open this fall.
What do you think of Hamilton County’s plans? Are they on target? (Sorry, I just couldn’t resist.)