AFTON — There’s a lot of excitement surrounding the shooting range complex currently being built by High Lakes Outdoor Alliance.
Tom Lesan, treasurer of High Lakes Outdoor Alliance, reported this morning more than 325 people have already paid for memberships to Three-Mile shooting range complex located on the north side of the lake.
“That’s pretty good considering all we have to offer right now is piled up dirt,” Lesan said. “People are buying memberships because they want to help us build this quicker. They’ve asked for corporate memberships and lifetime memberships. That’s the kind of enthusiasm there is for this (shooting range).”
Doug Jones, president of High Lakes Outdoor Alliance, said the pistol, smallbore and long-range rifle ranges are currently available to members.
However, the range is not very welcoming to members right now because of the muddy conditions. Jones said the weather this spring has really hindered the range’s availability and, more importantly, has delayed its construction plans at the range.
Jones said, as soon as the weather cooperates, a 1,000-foot gravel roadway from the gate to proposed building/clubhouse will be constructed. Seeding will begin. And, what many people have been waiting for — five concrete trap houses and five fields will be poured allowing for clay pigeon shooting.
Jones said he’d like to have the trap houses constructed and ready by early June.
He said electricity has been installed at the range near the proposed building site. Meanwhile, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is expected to approve an easement in May that would allow water to be trenched to the shooting range.
In future months, High Lakes Outdoor Alliance would like to construct skeet shoots, proper lighting and cement walkways and construct a 100- by 60-foot building on the site to be used for cold storage, event sign-ins and as a meeting location.
Knowing this shooting range was being built — Southwestern Community College developed the school’s first shooting team. Lesan said a lot of excitement has followed as SWCC has already signed 25 student-athletes who will be on campus this fall.
Lesan said Southwestern is the first Iowa community college to develop a shooting team.
They will be coached by Charlie Mundy. Their first season of competition will run from October 2013 through March 2014. Lesan said there will be two home meets scheduled for the Spartans at Three-Mile shooting range.
“It’s the fastest growing sport in the Midwest, so why wouldn’t it work here?” Lesan said. “We have recruits — male and female — from all over the state of Iowa coming to Southwestern, some for the simple reason they will have an opportunity to shoot. We’re very excited about this team.”