Shooting range gets ready to open fire But original cost estimate could go further off-target

November 11, 1996|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

Carroll's new public shooting range in Westminster is scheduled to open Saturday at double the anticipated cost of construction.

And the cost -- about $60,000 so far -- may go higher, said Richard J. Soisson, director of county recreation and parks.

The range at Northern Landfill off Route 140 north of Reese Road will have 10 shooting lanes, each up to 200 yards long, to accommodate rifles and handguns. It replaces a smaller pistol range built about 1987 as a training facility for county and municipal police officers.

Carroll County Sportsmen's Association -- with about 1,600 members -- lobbied the County Commissioners last year to build a public firing range. The group noted the closing of several private ranges since 1990, leaving only about a dozen small private facilities for gun enthusiasts.

Despite objections from residents of the Tannery Manor community, the firing range was approved for construction at Northern Landfill.

"We have done a lot to address public concern about noise and safety concerns," said Soisson.

Baffling, for example, is constructed with lumber 2 inches thick that encases 6 inches of stone, Soisson said. Baffling starts at a height of 7 feet and runs across the firing lanes for the length of the range, making it impossible for a stray bullet to escape the range, he said.

Early in the planning, Soisson said, officials knew that $45,000 was a more realistic estimate of construction costs.

That amount soared once workers struck rock during grading and a private contractor was needed to blast and drill for baffle supports, Soisson said.

Costs will increase because more work on ricochet baffling must be done, he said, but the expenses are being met by contributions from Carroll County Sportsmen's Association, grants from the state Department of Natural Resources and the National Rifle Association. The county's contribution has been providing equipment and manpower, he said.

Soisson said he could not estimate the cost for the use of county equipment and manpower.

"Over time, we anticipate that revenue collected from those using the facility will pay for all costs," he said. "It has to be self-supporting from now on."

Steve Scherer, treasurer of Carroll County Sportsmen's Association, said $42,000 has been raised so far, including the grants from the state and the NRA.

"The revenues will make up the difference," he said.

Daily fees are $5 for county residents and $7 for nonresidents.

Annual passes for $20 (residents) or $50 (nonresidents) may be purchased at the Department of Recreation and Parks in Suite 205 of Winchester Building, 125 N. Court St., Westminster.

Beginning Saturday, the facility will operate Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between Jan. 1 and March 31 and from Wednesday through Sunday between April 1 and Dec. 31.

Daily hours are 10 a.m. until one hour before sunset.

Pub Date: 11/11/96

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