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Parks and Rec board moves forward with plan to deter deer

Parks and Rec board moves forward with plan to deter deer
Deer tracks and deer droppings cover a green at Wildwood Golf Course in Charles City. Photo submitted
By Kelly Terpstra,

The greens at Wildwood Golf Course in Charles City have been getting a lot of play lately.

But some of that links action has nothing to do with high-arching shots from a 5-iron that land close to the cup.

Two families of deer have run roughshod over greens at the course, according to Parks and Rec Director Tyler Mitchell. He alerted the Parks and Rec board of the problem at a monthly meeting on Wednesday.

Two does, two bucks and four fawns have trampled and destroyed much of the putting surface on many greens at the nine-hole course.

“We’re spending over an hour every morning fixing divots all over the greens,” said Mitchell.

He said this problem started a few years ago and is caused by the deer running and playing on the manicured greens.

There may be more than just a handful of perpetrators, according to board member Dennis Petersen, who said deer in or around the golf course have been an issue for quite some time.

“There’s a lot more deer than that along Sherman Creek, let me tell you. I counted 138 one day behind my house,” said Petersen.

The solution, according to the board, is to allow in-city bow hunting in season to limit the number of deer in the area.

The board approved that measure on Wednesday and that item will be on the City Council agenda in the coming weeks.

“We’re going to have to start doing some major repairs if we don’t take care of it soon,” said Mitchell.

Mitchell said the hunt could be done by a lottery system where applicants would be interviewed in front of the Parks and Rec Board for the right to be able to kill the deer. The hunters that participated would be chosen randomly. Board member Jeff Otto also raised the possibility of bidding out the hunting to generate revenue for the city.

A depredation tag is needed from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for the hunt to be legal.

Mitchell said the hunt would occur when the course was closed and there would be signs posted warning people that hunting is taking place.

“They would have to do doe to buck. In order to take a buck, they have to take a doe,” said Mitchell. “We need to get as many as we can because if we don’t fix that before long we’re going to be spending hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Also at the meeting Wednesday evening, the board approved spending $2,300 to upgrade the speaker system at Lions Pool. The work would be done by TJ Service in Charles City and would include installation of two waterproof speakers outside that are also resistant to chlorine.

“They’re not going to deteriorate like our old ones have always done,” said Mitchell.

Two speakers would also be put in the shower areas. The new system would also be put away and winterized when the pool wasn’t open. Mitchell said the system could be built this fall.

The board would have $2,700 left after those speakers were installed from the $5,000 budgeted for pool recreation. Buying lounge chairs, water polo nets or basketball hoops could be purchased with some of that remaining money.

Charles City High School tennis coach Brian Parrott, along with Mark Kuhn, talked to the board about the idea of building an indoor tennis facility or the possibility of resurfacing two courts that are located where the current skate park is at Lions Park.

Parrott said he was told that an indoor tennis facility – which would be 120 feet by 120 feet and would have a 35-foot clearance – would cost just over $500,000. Parrott said he didn’t know if $140,000 worth of insulation was needed for construction.

The resurfacing of the courts would cost $12,000, but that did not include the cost of fencing. Petersen added with the rising costs of fencing, he wouldn’t be surprised if the fencing cost just as much, if not more than the resurfacing.

Mitchell suggested Parrott talk to the school board first, to see if the school district wants to fund the project and address the Parks and Rec board in the winter.

“Then we can make a better decision,” said Mitchell.

Petersen said there just isn’t money in the Parks and Rec budget to consider the project at this time.

“My personal feeling is if the school wants these courts for school events, then the school should take the lead in funding these two courts and maybe the city can partner in some way and help,” said Petersen.