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Sun, Feb. 23

CV seeks new site for shooting range, training center


The Daily Courier

CHINO VALLEY – The Police Department is looking for a new site for a proposed shooting range and training area because a site under consideration is too close to a new housing development.

The department planned to build the shooting range on 55 acres that the town owns off Old Home Manor Drive. However, the property is located within a mile of the Hay Stack Ranch development, which is outside the town limits.

Encroaching housing development prompted the Town Council on June 23 to rescind a previous decision that called for locating a permanent range/training area on the 55-acre site.

Construction on the homes started this past spring, said Dave Mazy, a grant consultant to the town and owner of a gun/ammunition shop.

Being within a mile of homes can create a potential safety hazard, Police Chief Pat Huntsman said.

An errant bullet, Mazy noted, can travel as far as four miles. He said the current range, off Perkinsville Road east of the turnoff to the Chino Valley campus of Yavapai College, does not pose any safety hazards because weapons point north instead of east.

The Police Department has used two other sites in the vicinity over the past decade or so, Huntsman said. One abandoned range site, near the entrance to the Running W Ranch, contains a dartboard atop a chair, plastic bottles and aluminum cans as targets, and is surrounded by tall weeds.

The department envisions plans for a 600-yard rifle range and a 50-yard pistol shooting course, along with a building with training amenities, Huntsman said. The building also would house locker rooms, showers, a workout room and classrooms.

Huntsman said the facility would be open to the public and would cost several million dollars. She added that she hopes the range would open within a few years.

The town would pay for the range/training area with grant money, Huntsman said.

That is where Mazy fits in. He said grant money could come from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Arizona Department of Game and Fish, the U.S. Forest Service and the National Rifle Association.

Mazy said he has contacted landowners about potential sites for the range. He added that he will do “whatever it takes to find a suitable site.”

Huntsman said, “We would be willing to look at any kind of land.”

And once the range is built and opens, it could pay for itself by charging fees to the public, she said.

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