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05-27-2007, 06:57
New PBC Gun Range - Palm Beach Post - May 27th, 2007 (

County picks gun-range site
By Mitra Malek

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The target is finally within sight.

For at least a decade - three decades, by some estimates - there were stops and starts and logistical issues.

But in April, county commissioners approved an agreement with the South Florida Water Management District for an 81-acre public outdoor gun range to be built at 20-Mile Bend off State Road 80. On June 12 they want feedback from residents on the planned park.

Palm Beach County has the state's third-largest shooting population, but no public range, according to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Only Miami-Dade and Broward counties rank higher in shooting population, and they have public ranges that Palm Beach County shooting enthusiasts often use.

That's pretty much been the drill for West Palm Beach resident John Diaz when he wants to practice outside: two hours round-trip to Sunrise's Markham Park for two hours of shooting, tops - any longer and his hands tire and his focus wanes. He gets there every couple of months or so.

"If it was closer I would go more," Diaz said. "The drive is what makes it a pain in the neck."

With the exception of one or two small members-only hunt clubs, the county doesn't have any private outdoor ranges either. The sheriff's office shooting range - which is next door to the proposed public range - is open to the public, but only once or twice a month. But it's limited to distance shooting, not sporting clays or trap and skeet shooting.

County staff have tried since at least the 1990s to find a place for a shooting park. Several county staffers say the search started a decade or two before that but lost steam in the late 1980s.

Either way, by 1992 the quest was under way, and public pressure was mounting. That was the year the county adopted an ordinance banning outdoor discharge of firearms east of 20-Mile Bend because development had encroached on land where citizens once had been able to shoot safely.

Robert Snyder, an avid hunter for nearly all his 56 years, recalls the days before the law passed when he headed down the L-8 Canal and would sight-in his gun for the season. Now the Lake Worth resident does that at private ranches in Okeechobee.

"The general population, they don't have that privilege," said Snyder, who was part of a committee that worked with county staff to find a site.

The 1992 shooting ordinance didn't stipulate that the county had to build a range, but it still was a goal, county staff recalls. High cost was a main deterrent; in 1998, the county estimated de-mucking and construction would cost about $3 million. Still, county commissioners reaffirmed their commitment to building a public range during workshops in 1998 and 2002.

Development also gradually took over existing ranges. For example, the Palm Beach Trap & Skeet Club in 2005 sold its 100 acres in Wellington to Centex Homes at a time when membership at the club was at its peak.

County staff scanned and scanned to find a spot.

"It became kind of an odyssey," said Bill Wilsher, the county's superintendent of park planning and design.

There was some acreage along Florida's Turnpike west of Greenacres, but residents at Palm Beach National would hear nothing of it. Then staff found land near the Corbett Wildlife Management Area, but it had environmental issues. Later they found another site, but it could have been used for a school.

Ultimately, the 20-Mile Bend location made sense because it's far enough away from development.

"We want people to have a safe environment to shoot," said Capt. David Sleeth, the county's public shoot coordinator. "You don't want bullets flying through your back yard."

County staff hope to return to the county commission in September with plans that identify what the range will include, how much it will cost to build and operate, and how it would be funded. The county's parks and recreation department has set aside $500,000 in its 2007 budget to design the park.

05-27-2007, 10:54
Originally posted by itsnitro
New PBC Gun Range - Palm Beach Post - May 27th, 2007 (

Sounds like a start:thumbsup:

05-27-2007, 18:17
Of course they fail to mention that the PBSO range was originally to be a public range................

05-29-2007, 07:10
Anyone have an address where it will be located?

05-29-2007, 19:21
next to the PBSO range, Southern Blvd out by 20 mile bend

05-29-2007, 20:10
Just in time for the county to be making deep budget cutting plans. I would not be surprised to see them try to gut this claiming budgetary crisis. Hopefully all of the budget issues are just political smoke, and we will see a range for the public there.

05-30-2007, 18:44
I wonder what the Palm Beach Shooting Center and Gator's have to say about this...

06-01-2007, 09:20
Do you really care?????:rofl:

06-28-2007, 07:31
Originally posted by avmech
Do you really care?????:rofl:

No, but maybe that will force them to allow outside ammo in to stay alive? That's assuming that the new range will allow outside too. :upeyes:

Neat avatar BTW.


06-28-2007, 16:30
Since the county would run the range, I don't think they would ban outside ammo.

Thanks on the avatar