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Shooters may take aim at old landfill

County officials say because of residents requests, they are considering using the former Resh Sanitary Landfill for a shooting

County officials say because of residents requests, they are considering using the former Resh Sanitary Landfill for a shooting

February 25, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

Washington County Administrator Rodney Shoop said Monday a shooting range might be included in plans for the former Resh Sanitary Landfill on Greencastle Pike.

Shoop said the concept is being worked on by county officials as a result of requests from residents.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook said the interest in a range has been around for the last several years, but cost estimates or whether the landfill is suitable for such a setup never have been determined.

"They've asked us, 'Would you be interested.' We've always said yes, but it was never to the point of getting a firm cost or a site located," Snook said.

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He said the county is working with sporting groups on the range concept.

Shoop said Director of Public Works Gary Rohrer is spearheading the plan for the county.

Rohrer could not be reached for comment Monday.

If a range is set up, Snook said it's possible that days would be set for public and police uses. A range would have to be built in a remote area for safety and noise issues, he said.

Snook said he and Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell visited a county-run shooting range in Carroll County, Md., called the Carroll County Firearms Facility, for ideas and information.

The Westminster, Md., facility has been open for two or three years and is located at a landfill, Snook said.

The range is used for practice by those interested in shooting firearms and by police agencies for certification, training and practice, according to the range's Web site.

Carroll County residents pay $5 per day to use the range, while the cost is $10 a day for out-of-county residents. A season pass is $30 for county residents, while it's $60 for those living outside the county.

Snook said the Carroll County facility was built so that it helped insulate sound from guns. He also said it was set up in a way that bullets from accidental shots would be contained to certain areas.

County Commissioner John C. Munson said he would support a shooting range if it's privately funded.

"It would be nice to have it up there for the public to use," Munson said. "Why not use that land for something worthwhile?

"I personally would like to have a place to go target practice myself."

Snook said a privately-funded range is an option that would be considered.

Commissioner Doris J. Nipps said, "I think it would be valuable if we could go ahead and find a use for the landfill."

Nipps said it "would be wonderful" if the county could make a profit from a shooting range.

Ted Ellis, secretary of the Izaak Walton League, said the organization has had preliminary meetings with the county on the range. He said he's glad to hear the county is considering the concept.

"The question is, 'Why haven't they done it a while ago?'" Ellis said.

He said a public shooting range is a good idea because "there are thousands of gun-owners in Washington County."

He said such a facility would turn a profit for the county, which is the case in Carroll County. The largest public shooting range in the country is located in Brevard County, Fla., he said.

"It's a huge moneymaker for that county," Ellis said.

The Izaak Walton League is a group committed to nature conservation. The group also promotes outdoor recreation activities and conservation activities. It has about 50,000 members nationally.

Ellis said supervised shooting sports are among the safest sports in existence. While the county provides facilities for activities including softball and football, he said there are none for shooting.

Steve Palmer of the Outdoor Sports Program Inc., could not be reached for comment Monday. Ellis said Palmer had been working on a county shooting range plan.

The former Resh landfill is in the process of being capped, which is a state environmental requirement. The Resh landfill was replaced by the Forty West Landfill, which opened in 2001.

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