The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission has secured a $2 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to be used in the construction of a new shooting sports complex for northeast Arkansas.
            The construction of the shooting sports complex is a partnership with the City of Jonesboro that has been in the making for many months. The total cost of the complex has been estimated at $10 million. However, the final price is dependent on added amenities
            “We are providing $2 million to help construct the range,” said Grant Tomlin, AGFC assistant chief of education. “The City of Jonesboro will be responsible for the remainder, so the final price tag is ultimately up to them.”
            Funding for the grant was derived from the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act, which collects an excise tax from manufacturers of sporting arms and ammunition to be used for wildlife conservation and acquisition and development of access for public use and hunter education programs, such as shooting ranges.
            “Ultimately, the money being used for this grant originated from the men and women who enjoy hunting and shooting, so it’s great to be able to give back to them in a way they will enjoy,” Tomlin said.
            Tomlin says the range is expected to have nine trap fields, three of which will play double duty as skeet-shooting fields. A 200-yard rifle range will offer hunters an opportunity to sight-in rifles as well as shooting enthusiasts a chance to hone their skills. A 50-yard pistol range also is planned for shooting sports enthusiasts and hunters who prefer the challenge of handgun hunting. Known-distance archery targets and a 3-D archery course also will complement the facility, so archers can take advantage of the new shooting area.
            “Restrooms, pavilions, and even a classroom or two are planned right now,” Tomlin said. “The aesthetics and building design work will be left up to the City and their design process.”
            Tomlin says another key component of the partnership is the protection of 38 acres on the northwest corner of the property to be left undeveloped in perpetuity.
            “We want to make sure a portion of the property is left in as natural a state as possible,” Tomlin said.