Mar 11, 2014 10:57 AM by Ryan Haarer

Oro Valley residents question safety of new archery ranges

ORO VALLEY- After years of planning the town of Oro Valley put in two walking archery courses in Naranja Park. Neighbors who've used the park's walking trails for years aren't too excited about sharing the space with bows and arrows.

"it's great. It's close to home, it's good practice!" says Frank Novak, an avid archer.

Archers and walkers News 4 spoke too agree; walking and archery trails should not cross paths. But, the Town of Oro Valley says it's spent three years ensuring the layout is safe for everyone. Archers are on the honor system for permits and payment. Pam Farris lives just a few doors down from the park entrance.

"No gate, no supervisor, there's no fence, just a little sign to be cautious," says Farris.

One particular target is backed by a hill. Neighbors say the hill is not tall enough to protect the homes and school bus stop in the arrow's path behind the hill. Town manager, Greg Caton, says the town's done their due diligence.

"The archers are not shooting arrows at the trail. They are shooting them at the target which are away from the trail and away from the homes."

Frank and his friends are regular archers. They love the course layout. But, even they say they have concerns about this particular target.

"There is always a chance of skipping one across the top and as you are walking down you can see houses back there," says Frank.

The town's already moved two targets to make the ranges even safer. The closest target to a home still remains at 170 feet.

"I can ensure that this is a very safe course and not only my word but we have had national experts on the course, one, design it and two, certify that this is a safe course," says Caton.

Despite the planning, continuous safety checks and public meetings, neighbors still fear the worst.

"If it could kill an animal it could severely hurt or kill a child," says Farris.

Caton says Oro Valley will consider changing the location of that target in question and will continue to assess safety as the course evolves. Just two weeks ago a national archery association was at the range in hopes of getting the safety certifications needed to host national tournaments at Naranja Park.

The town hopes the park will bring in people and dollars from across the region.


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