Rec. Authority hears study on possible sporting clay facility at Industrial Park

Published 6:09 pm Friday, September 16, 2016

Marty Fischer of SportShooting Consultants, Ltd., presented the Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreation Authority Thursday with a study for putting a public shooting sports facility where the Pines Golf Course used to be.

Fischer’s study proposed that the thousands of hunters and shooting enthusiasts in Southwest Georgia had very few commercial clay target facilities in the area to pursue and enjoy their hobby.

Using his personal rule of an hour’s drive radius around a shooting course, what Fischer calls a “core market”, he determined from the most recent census there were more than 900,000 residents within the core market for Decatur County. This includes the 11 closest counties to Decatur County, four counties in Alabama and five in Florida.

Email newsletter signup

“I can tell you without a doubt, this is completely safe, very low maintenance and an excellent place to put this,” Fischer said. “In an hour’s drive, there are more than 900,000 people. I will tell you, that’s enough.”

Apart from local dollars, an option for funding the shooting facility is provided by the Pittman-Robertson Act, an 11 percent tax imposed on firearms, ammunition and archery. Georgia receives about 20 million annually from the tax, and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources administers money to select county and city shooting facilities throughout the state.

“It will actually contribute up to 75 percent the total cost of the project,” Fischer said. “The beauty of this is the sportsmen of this country are making the contribution to put back so that they in turn can reap the benefits of it.”

Fischer estimated the cost of a project like this to be roughly $300,000.

Safety-wise, Fischer approved the site as a safe location for a shooting range. With shots traveling up to a maximum of 750 feet, nearby building or adjacent properties would not be affected by a shooting sports facility. Additionally, with the land being a former golf course, the foundation for a clay shooting course is already built in.

Fischer has designed more than 150 public and private clay target facilities in North America.

“We think this a worthwhile endeavor to explore and possibly pursue,” said Jeff Findley, Recreation Authority chairman. “However, there needs to be much more study and consideration given before we come to a final answer. But this would offer a great recreational opportunity to not only our county, but the entire Southwest Georgia region, and will be a true economic development project.”


Facilities Use Policy and Regulations Update


The Bainbridge-Decatur County Recreation Authority heard an updated version of the Facilities Use Policy and Regulations at its meeting Tuesday.

The authority will revisit the policy at their next scheduled meeting to determine if it should be taken off the table and voted on.

The policy specifies its purpose while providing more details for commercial use and non-commercial use of the facilities.

Commercial use refers to all individuals, groups, teams, organizations businesses who charge fees for service, admissions, sell tickets, food or other items, solicit funds, donations, promote a commercial business or other money making activities, the policy reads.

Non-commercial use refers to all individuals, groups, local travel teams or businesses who reserve a facility for private or public use, where no fees are charged, nothing is sold or promoted for commercial gain and no donations are collected or solicited.

No fees, insurance or releases are required for “free play”, which refers to individuals who use the facilities for casual practice.

Facilities available for commercial use, non-commercial use and free play are: Bill Reynolds Sports Park Complex 1 and 2, Bill Reynolds Sports Park Batting Cages, Bill Reynolds Sports Park Football/Multi-Purpose fields, Bill Reynolds Sports Park Basketball Complex, Floyd Tennis Complex and Potter Street Tennis Complex.

The policy states that all activities that give lessons or activities on a daily schedule must provide the Recreation Authority office with a weekly schedule each Monday prior to lesson or activity and provide payment for the presiding week.