The Jonesboro Shooting Sports Complex is partially complete, and the fields that are finished will open Sept. 22.
The 200-yard rifle range, the 50-yard pistol range, three trap/skeet fields, a 70-yard archery range, and a 50-yard archery range will all be open to the public.
“This project is ongoing, and CWL just put electricity in last week,” Mayor Harold Copenhaver said. “But because so much is already usable, we want the shooting enthusiasts who have been excited about this project for so long to be able to use what is available.”
Shooting Sports hours will be 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. The location is 3702 Moore Road in southeast Jonesboro. The road extension is new, so those unfamiliar with it should know to follow Moore Road until it dead ends at the complex.
The facility will offer shooters and archers a safe place to practice and enjoy their sport. Other amenities, including six more trap/skeet fields, are still under construction.
The facility will be staffed by Jonesboro Parks and Recreation. Police Chief Rick Elliott has led the effort to obtain sponsorships and donors to help grow the range with as little impact on taxpayers as possible.
“As we’ve discussed from the beginning, this project was designed to be done in phases,” Elliott said. “We have enough completed so the public can start enjoying this fantastic facility. Meanwhile, progress on the rest is being made on a weekly basis.”
The city broke ground on the project in February of 2018. It was estimated to cost between $8 million and $10 million at the time to completely finish the project, and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission pledged $2 million. Naming rights for the facility or others such as naming individual trap stations have been offered to private businesses.
A timetable for completing the entire project has not been established.
Jonesboro has already spent $1.276 million to buy the 208 acres on Moore Road where the range and center will be located. The AGFC grant paid for the groundwork.
About 30 acres on the property are wooded, and it will provide a “buffer zone” for the range, Elliott said. A pond on the property will be stocked with fish, and visitors will be allowed to fish. The range will be open to the public, and area law enforcement will be able to train there.
Shooting ranges are an experience that is growing in the U.S., according to a report from research firm IBISWorld. That report said revenue from U.S. shooting ranges is estimated at $1 billion, with 4.5% annual growth between 2011 and 2016. The report estimated 2,425 shooting range facilities in the U.S., with employment of 17,448.
The report also noted:
• Renewed enthusiasm for firearms led consumers to visit more shooting ranges;
• The industry has contended with competition from alternate forms of leisure and sports activities; and
• Although demand has fallen from its 2012 surge, firearm enthusiasm remains relatively high.