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$30 Million Shooting Range in Bowling Green

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    Gary G23

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    Quality shooting range on agenda
    Foundation would lay groundwork for site in Warren that would cost up to $30 million

    By ROBYN L. MINOR, The Daily News,
    Monday, October 15, 2007 12:03 PM CDT
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    A foundation is being formed that would be responsible for establishing an Olympic qualifying-caliber shooting and archery range in Warren County.

    The Shanty Hollow Shooting Sports Foundation is also zeroing in on private funding for the proposed $25 million to $30 million facility so that no tax dollars would be needed for the project, according to Amy Cardwell, the sports marketing director for the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    The project has been in the discussion stages for nearly two years, but now the economic development impact studies have been done to show potential usage and impact on the community. Depending on the number and types of events garnered, the economic impact could be more than $16 million annually by attracting just a dozen or so top events.

    As the name suggests, the facility, which would allow for shooters and archers to be under cover, would be at Shanty Hollow Lake, about 800 acres now owned by the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Western Kentucky University.

    “We already host three weeks of championship shooting at Western,” Cardwell said.

    Those shooting events have an economic impact, with each person among the hundreds that arrived during the summer spending about $300 each.

    There also is a good deal of interest in archery, with Kentucky being one of the leading states in that field. About 33 percent of physical education programs statewide have an archery component, she said. In nearby Logan County, Lewisburg Elementary School has a national championship archery team. Residents there are trying to get funding for a high school-level team.

    At a recent Logan Fiscal Court meeting, it was projected that more than 200 students would be involved in such a program on the high school level.

    A facility with the potential to ultimately be as large as one constructed for the Olympics in Atlanta could have great economic impact, Cardwell said. That facility has management issues and is in the process of closing so it would not be competition, she said.

    Fred Gibson, who coordinates the Recreation Administration Program at Western, said each time the organizational committee meets - about every two weeks - plans move on a little further.

    “By the middle of the spring, we hope to have something concrete about how we are going to proceed with this project,” Gibson said.

    Gibson said the State Department of Fish and Wildlife is very interested and optimistic about the project.

    “They are waiting to see a strategic plan and business proposal about how the foundation would function,” he said.

    Gibson said Western’s portion of the ground at the lake has been unused for years.

    “This would be a very logical use for the land,” he said.

    “We do a number of educational programs such as the conceal carry, firearms courses and hunter safety,” Gibson said. “All of those could be conducted at the facility.”

    It’s possible that Western could also field a collegiate shooting team.

    “A number of universities have shooting sports team, and probably the only reason we haven’t had one is because of the lack of availability of a facility where they could practice and compete,” he said.

    Gibson said the committee wants to make careful progress on the project but “obviously we’d like to see it constructed as soon as possible.”

    Depending on funding availability, it could be 10 years before all of the project would be built, Cardwell said.

    Gibson said the Richardsville area property “is a gorgeous” setting for the facility.

    “We can do a project like this with minimal development on the land,” he said. “So the land can stay in its natural state.”