The South Dakota Senate approved a $5 million funding request for a Meade County shooting complex on Tuesday by a vote of 28-7.
SB 175 now heads to the House of Representatives, where similar legislation to fund the Game, Fish & Parks South Dakota Shooting Sport Complex was killed earlier in session.
GF&P has requested a $2.5 million appropriation from the state's general fund and authorization to spend $2.5 million from their "other" fund to build the comprehensive shooting range in rural Meade County. The proposed site is along Elk Vale Road approximately three miles north of the intersection of Elk Creek Road and within a 10-minute drive of Rapid City.
The project has met opposition from area landowners who are concerned about noise, safety, vehicle traffic and pollution. Supporters say the location is "nearly perfect," needed for West River shooting enthusiasts, and that GF&P has a history of running a safe operation.
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Officials from GF&P said the planned firearms range would have 175 shooting bays, including a long-range bay, an advanced range for competitive shooting and law enforcement training, and a hunter education building. Law enforcement and competition organizations would pay for use of those facilities. The general public would be able to access the shooting ranges with no admission charge, GF&P Secretary Kevin Robling has said.
The funding request from the Legislature is not the total cost of the project. Robling said donations from private organizations and individuals has been pledged, along with revenue from the federal government's Pittman-Robertson Act.
Additional concerns have been heard from the Meade County Commissioners over the road use and maintenance. GF&P sent a letter to the commission dated Feb. 10, with a commitment to paying taxes of the property and assisting with road maintenance.
The Meade County Commission has not made any official decision on the proposal.
Contact Nathan Thompson at email@example.com.