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Nov 15, 2011 8:01 PM by Matt Stafford

EPC moves forward on local gun range, not everyone happy

A new public shooting range is closer to being built in Colorado Springs. Tuesday, the El Paso County Commissioners, Fort Carson, and the Sheriff's Office signed off on the deal to bringing the Cheyenne Mountain Sports Shooting Complex to reality.

It will be built on land owned by the Mountain Post, just outside of Gate 20.

"We're going to provide all of the land, we're going to readjust our access so you can come in and out seven days a week," says Maj. Gen. David Perkins, Fort Carson's commanding general. "It really is a positive, I think, for both sides; both the people in Fort Carson and the people that live outside the gate."

Post officials joined El Paso County Commissioners and Sheriff Terry Maketa to sign off on the first phase of the project; it includes six ranges -- one for Sheriff's Office training Monday through Friday.

Several attending Tuesday's meeting were supportive, but not everyone was happy with the decision.

"I have to make payroll, I have mortgage payments to make; what are you going to do," says Robert Holmes, owner of Whistling Pines Gun Club.

Holmes doesn't like the idea for the county range, and he let the Commissioners know at Tuesday's meeting.

"It's a possible loss of business; my big concern is you have government competing against private business," says Holmes. "There is no responsibility over there if they don't make money on this thing."

"If I go under, my name is on the mortgage," Holmes adds.

"This is not designed to take the place of any other range," says Commission Chair Amy Lathen. She says they're required to give a place for the Sheriff's Office to train.

"This is just an opportunity to provide that, and make it available to the public."

To get the first phase going, planners estimate it'll take about $750,000. They set up a foundation to help the range fund itself, and help soldiers too -- it's called, "A Soldier's Friend Foundation." As for the initial investment, they aren't sure how much taxpayers will have to pay.

"As we go out and raise those funds, that will give us a lot more information as to how much of any kind of support we may or may not provide," says Lathen. Lathen says several groups have already come forward to make donations, but she says if they don't raise enough money the plans may have to be adjusted.

Commissioners say they hope to break ground in the spring.

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