County Commissioners OK Gun Range Location

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Bay County commissioners decided unanimously Tuesday morning to move forward with plans to build a public gun range at the Steelfield Landfill off Highway 79.

Residents came to the meeting armed with complaints and concerns about noise and safety.

"If you look at the difference between noise where I live and noise in the city, it is greatly different," said James Wheatley. "A gunshot out there, and there are hunters in the area, carries for miles."

"Is there gonna be a concern with high powered rifle shots which I know can go farther than a mile. Am I gonna be concerned about that with my children playing outside?" asked Crystal Ford.

However, commissioners had experts from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to back them up on the decision and why it was the right choice for a location.

"One of the first things we do when we look at a site is look at the sound pressure values and if we're gonna be able to stay within county limits and we feel that we will at that site," said FWC Hunter Safety Coordinator George Warthen. "The other thing we look at is do we have a safe direction or direction of fire and we feel that we have that at that range as well."

Commissioners hope to have the $200,000 project open to the public by November 2014. Commissioners will be using Parks and Recreation Department impact fees to fund the gun range.