City purchases land for shooting complex

Plans for a shooting range in the city of Jonesboro took a step forward Monday. The city purchased more than 200 acres of land off of Moore Road for the facility.

Communications Director Bill Campbell said the city purchased the land for $1.276 million. The city announced they were looking at the land on Moore Road in 2016.

The shooting range, which will be partly funded by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, 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 also hold up to 100 people for training purposes.

"This is a big step toward making our shooting range a reality," Jonesboro Mayor Harold Perrin said. "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."

According to Campbell, the AGFC obtained a $2 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The grant money will help fund the $10 million project.

“The $2 million federal grant comes through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act's Basic Hunter Education and Safety Program,” a news release said Monday.

Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott has spoken about the need for a new shooting range for years.

“We will have training classes for shooting sports and archery – things like hunter education, safety, how to shoot trap, etc.,” Jonesboro Chief of Police Rick Elliott said. “This will definitely be a public-private partnership, so we are finding corporate donors to offset expenses.”

Financially, city Chief Financial Officer Bill Reznicek expects the range to bring tourism dollars to Jonesboro.

“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.

Previously, the police department trained at Craighead Forest Park. However, the city stopped using that facility after the expansion of a neighborhood nearby.

Initially, the city discussed placing the shooting range on 25 acres off of Dan Ave. They acquired the property in a land swap with Jonesboro City Water Light. Later, the AGFC said they wanted in on the project.

According to a Memorandum of Understanding Agreement with the AGFC, the commission will pay for 75% of the project cost.

“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.”

Chief Elliott said they will finish up plans on the site work soon and then bid out a contractor for site development. 

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