The city of Jonesboro is closer to opening its much discussed shooting range and education center. The city bought 208.7 acres that abuts Moore’s Road on Monday (Jan. 8) at a price of $1.276 million.
The $10 million project will be partially funded by a $2 million grant from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“This is a big step toward making our shooting range a reality,” said Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin. “Signing those papers was a relief, because we’ve been through a lot of ups and downs, and I’m grateful to the landowners for being patient, and Arkansas Game and Fish for its tremendous work in obtaining the grant.”
The shooting range will be not only an upgrade for Jonesboro police training, but its design will make it an attraction for shooting and archery enthusiasts around the region, the mayor said. The $2 million federal grant comes through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act’s Basic Hunter Education and Safety Program.
The complex will include nine trap/skeet fields, a 200-yard rifle range, a 50-yard pistol range, and 3-D and traditional archery ranges. The main building will have a classroom to hold 80 to 100 people for training/educational purposes.
“We will have training classes for shooting sports and archery – things like hunter education, safety, how to shoot trap, etc.,” said Jonesboro Chief of Police Rick Elliott. “This will definitely be a public-private partnership, so we are finding corporate donors to offset expenses.”
Jonesboro Chief Financial Officer Bill Reznicek said the facility will be a financial boon to the Jonesboro tax roll.
“Our police department can share it with the public, and we can host a lot of events that will bring in tourism revenue,” Reznicek said, adding that the facility is a basic need for police but also a source of entertainment for shooting enthusiasts. “Their current facility is pretty primitive,” he said. “This will be better and should bring in some A&P tourism dollars. That’s almost a no-brainer.”
Local law enforcement officers will use the range for training the first two days of the week, and those days will also be dedicated to cleanup and maintenance. The complex will be open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, and will be operated by the city.
It has not been determined how much the public will be charged to use the shooting range, or if memberships will be offered. Most of the money generated would go toward operating expenses, officials said. How many full and part-time workers the range will employ has not been determined.
Preliminary drawings are complete, and the next step is architecture, Elliott said. City officials will finish plans for the site work, and the city will solicit contractor bids for the site development, Elliott said.