JONESBORO — As construction continues on a shooting sports complex, some events could be held as early as this summer, Police Chief Rick Elliott said Monday.
In addition to crime fighting, Elliott is recruiting private donations to fund the construction.
The project began in 2015 as an effort to move the police department’s shooting range out of Craighead Forest Park and away from nearby homes to a more secluded area that could also be made available to civilians.
The city then joined forces with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, which had been searching for a place to develop a regional shooting complex.
“I’m hoping by mid-summer, the plumbing and electricity will be done,” Elliott said.
Ramson’s Inc. is nearing completion of $2.55 million of construction, which includes restrooms, installation of shot curtains and other work for trap shooting.
The rifle range is ready to use, but water and electric service hasn’t been activated to the restrooms, Elliott said.
Another phase of work, construction of a classroom building, is expected to begin this month.
The city council’s public works committee is scheduled to review a proposed $1,298,000 contract with Olympus Construction for that project, which is expected to take 11 months to complete
Construction got its jump-start after the game and fish commission secured a $2 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Now that the construction has reached this point, Elliott said more grant sources are becoming available, and more private businesses are interested in purchasing naming rights for some of the facilities.
Every potential investor he’s taken to the site has made a commitment after seeing scope of the project, he said.
“It’s awful hard to get people interested until they can drive out and look at it,” Elliott said. “Once you get them out there, it’s ‘Oh, my gosh, it’s a lot bigger than I thought.’ It’s 208 acres. It’s a huge facility.”
The primary purpose of the game and fish commission’s participation is to provide shooting education for youth. Elliott said local high school teams are anxious to get started.