Sports park gets funding
BEMIDJI -- When completed, it will be a shooter's paradise.
At the Beltrami County Board of Commissioner's meeting Tuesday, Paul Welle, of the George W. Neilson Foundation, promised $600,000 throughout the next five years to go toward construction of the Northland Regional Sports Park.
In $120,000 increments, the Headwaters Shooting Sports Association (HSSA) will use the money to build the park, located about three miles north of U.S. Highway 2 off Highway 89.
Mark Farabee, of the HSSA, said the remaining funds will be solicited from the club's members and shooting enthusiasts in the community. The park's construction may take a decade, Farabee said, on top of the seven years the group has been working with the board to seek funding
"There's so much support in the community for youth activities, shooting activities and education. ... we're going to see a lot of in-kind donations for construction, and building materials," he said.
The facility, along with a shelter and trailhead building, will consume 360 acres of county-owned land. Farabee said construction could begin next spring, with the first phase being completed by fall, 2015.
Virtually any gun you can imagine will be allowed to be fired at the park. Initially, though, a large skeet-shooting field and several pistol ranges will be built as part of the first phase of construction, which is expected to cost $1.5 million.
Noise reducing construction and safety issues were part of the reason for the lengthy lead-up to the facility's construction, Farabee said. A range designer certified with the National Rifle Association was involved in addressing those concerns.
All told, the project may cost $5 million.
"We're finally underway," Farabee said.