Union Sportsmens’s Alliance, local unions donate almost $90,000 in volunteer hours to build new Florissant archery range

NEW ARCHERY RANGE – Utility Workers Local 335 President Allan Bathon (center left) and Insulators Local 1 Business Manager Gary Payeur (center right) cut the ribbon on the new Florissant archery range at Sunset Park. – Labor Tribune photo

Assistant Editor

Florissant, MO – Outdoor enthusiasts now have another location to practice archery here at Sunset Park thanks to the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance Work Boots on the Ground program and volunteers from about dozen local unions and other organizations.

Florissant city officials and a large group of volunteers held a ribbon-cutting ceremony last week at the new state-of-the-art range overlooking the Missouri River, which features a fully accessible standard range with 10 targets and an elevated walkaround range, similar to one the Alliance built at Mark Twain Lake.

“We are very excited to show off this new amenity,” said Florissant Mayor Tim Lowry. “This project was funded with private funds and all the work was done by volunteers with the St. Louis union building trades and the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance. We’d like to thank them along with Missouri American Water and McBride Homes.

“We’d also like to extend a huge thanks to Utility Workers Local 335 President Allan Bathon, Insulator’s Local 1 Business Manager Gary Payeur and the alliance’s Sam Phipps who really got this project off the ground and took the lead,” Lowry said.

The project is the brainchild of Bathon, who is also a member of the alliance. Bathon, formerly of Florissant, said he spent years driving past Sunset Park wondering if a better archery range could be built there instead of the city’s archery range at Koch Park, which range only had four targets, a picnic bench and wasn’t fully assessable. That range is now closed, and the land was bought by McBride homes.

“I’m just glad to see that we got the money needed and a plan in place to build the range,” Bathon said in an interview. “I worked on getting the cash and the location, but Gary really put his heart and soul into making sure the project went as smoothly as it did.”

Phipps is conservation programs manager for the alliance’s Work Boots on the Ground program. He said the program utilizes the power of skilled tradesmen and women for community service projects that improve public access to the outdoors, enhance wildlife habitat, restore America’s parks and educate future generations of sportsmen and women.

He said since beginning in 2010, close to 5,000 union members have volunteered 56,000 hours, a value of over $2.2 million toward conservation projects all across the country.

Phipps said unions, organizations and contractors involved in making the Florissant range a reality include: the St. Louis Building & Construction Trades Council, Insulators Local 1, Utility Workers Local 335, Roofers Local 2, Cement Masons Local 527, Laborers Local 110, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562, Painters District Council 58, Operating Engineers Local 513, Sprinkler Fitters Local 268, FTI Midwest, Fire Solutions, Walsh Insulation, Kaybee Electric and Budrovich.

“Union volunteers donated 1,680 hours of labor, valued at $89,040, to complete this project,” said Phipps, who is also a member of Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 562. “We’re proud to celebrate our latest conservation project here at Sunset Park, which is 100 percent open to the public and will act as the primary practice facility for the Lindenwood University Archery Team.

“We would also like to say thank you to the city of Florissant for the opportunity and the incredible piece of property, Missouri American Water for their tremendous contribution and resources to make this project possible, and all of our local unions, members and partners who volunteered their time, skills and equipment to bring this project to life,” Phipps said.

Sunset Park is a 108-acre park located at 2300 Sunset Park Drive. It is open from dawn to dusk. The archery range is located off the first right after the entrance to the park. For more information, call 314-839-7670.

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