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Outdoor shooting range discussed at recreation board meeting


An outdoor shooting range -- a proposal that has met neighborhood opposition in a half-dozen locations in the past decade -- could be built that would address residents' concerns about noise and safety, the Carroll County Recreation and Parks director said yesterday.

A range could be equipped with baffling and earthen berms to muffle noise, Director Richard J. Soisson said at a Recreation and Parks board meeting at Piney Run Park.

"The shooting range is still alive," he said.

"It's not well, though," replied board member Scott Davis.

Carroll County Sportsmen's Association has been looking for a place to build a range for almost 10 years, but has met opposition everywhere.

Residents in South Carroll objected to an outdoor range proposed at Hoods Mill Landfill, Gillis Falls Reservoir or Morgan Run Natural Environment Area, and people in North Carroll opposed a range in the Union Mills area.

Last year, recreation and parks board members and the sportsmen agreed an indoor range would be the best solution.

The building would have cost $311,000; county officials said the county couldn't afford it.

Board member Tom DiMaggio said the board had voted to support an indoor range and should not change its course now.

"I think we're going backward instead of forward. We want to do what's best for the county. We have to consider all the groups," he said.

An indoor range would be expensive, but the county could recoup some money through fees, Mr. DiMaggio said.

"Nobody wants 'boom, bang, pop' in their back yard," he said.

Mr. Soisson said the County Commissioners are interested in the idea of an outdoor range and discussed it with some sportsmen at a meeting several weeks ago.

The sportsmen had asked for the opportunity to talk to the new board of commissioners, Mr. Soisson said.

The commissioners, sportsmen and recreation officials agreed to visit Elk Neck State Park in Cecil County April 21 to see a range similar to what could be built in Carroll, he said.

The sportsmen said an indoor range is not ideal because the lanes would not be long enough for shooting rifles, Mr. Soisson said.

They also believe the price is so high that it would never be built, he said.

An outdoor range would cost about $30,000, Mr. Soisson said.

It would have 10 firing lanes, ranging in length from 25 yards to 200 yards. Bullets would be fired at targets with mounds of dirt as backdrops.

A 15-to-20-foot high berm would surround the range.

Baffling material 15-to-20-feet wide in each lane would deflect noise into the ground.

Some residents will oppose any kind of shooting range, board member Ken Kiler predicted.

"People will fight an indoor range. People will fight a softball field," he said.

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