Gypsum Shooting Sports Park nets grant, prepares grand opening
GYPSUM — It’s been a big year for the folks associated with the Eagle Valley Rod and Gun Club.
In October of 2015, the Colorado Department of Local Affairs approved a $332,433 grant for construction of a clubhouse at the Gypsum Shooting Sports Park, located north of Interstate 70 at the Gypsum interchange. Work commenced immediately and the building is now complete.
But the facility’s grant success was just getting started. Last week, Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced the facility was the recipient of a $114,100 grant to pay for realignment of its rifle and pistol ranges and for erosion control in existing areas.
Dick Mayne, a member of the club’s board of directors, said it’s actually taken about 18 years of work to get the facility to the place where it is today. He noted that the operation’s long-term growth and success have helped the club’s grant applications.
“We’ve been trying for several years (to get grant funding for improvements) and it seems like they all came through at the same time,” said Mayne.
It also helped that the club got some good advice about what to ask for. Board of directors member Chris Huffman headed up the recent grant-writing efforts and he acknowledged there was a learning curve for the process. Ultimately, he was advised to split up applications because the Colorado Department of Local Affairs favors applications that deal with buildings while Colorado Parks and Wildlife favors parks enhancement. Once he did that, the money came through.
The new clubhouse at the Gypsum Shooting Sports Club is a $600,000 facility. The town of Gypsum provided matching funds for the Department of Local Affairs grant.
“It’s more than a clubhouse, it’s a community building,” said Mayne.
The 4,800 facility includes a large meeting room and kitchen on the main level with classroom space on the lower level. The new facility was set for a grand opening in September when the club leadership learned they needed to upgrade fire protection at the site before opening the clubhouse.
“We were so busy doing everything else, that slipped by us,” said Mayne.
When the town of Gypsum learned about the issue, officials agreed to finance a $360,000 water line extension project that included a bore under Interstate 70. The project brought a new water line to the town-owned shooting sports park and it also improved the municipal water system for neighborhoods in northwestern Gypsum. Because of the new I-70 bore, the gun club can now look at extending natural gas services to the site.
With the water issue addressed and a certificate of occupancy on the horizon, the gun club has scheduled a Nov. 19 grand opening for the facility. Rife and shotgun turkey shoots, where participants can win turkeys, bacon and other prize, are planned as part of the celebration. For more information about the event, call Huffman at 970-904-5913.
With the clubhouse completed, the club is now looking toward its next project — improvements to its rifle and pistol ranges that will be financed with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife grant.
The club plans to expand its pistol ranges, build additional berms and re-route some drainage channels away from the rifle range. These improvements are needed because of the increased use at the facility.
Huffman noted the club now has 346 paid members but it sees a lot of non-member use. During a five-day period at the beginning of Colorado’s big game hunting season, 84 non-members checked in at the range during a five-day period.
“They were sighting in their guns and half of those people were from out of state,” said Huffman. “Some of the ranges got so busy we didn’t have space to accommodate everyone.”
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife grant will begin the club’s effort to address the issue, but members also plan another large project in the near future. The club has been negotiating with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to purchase a 27-acre site to expand its range facilities. With that expansion, the range can extend out to 500 yards.
Huffman said the club figures the Bureau of Land Management deal will cost in the neighborhood of $100,000 and that money will come from the club itself.
To learn more about club activities and benefits, or sign up for a membership, visit the Eagle Valley Rod and Gun Club webpage at http://www.gypsumgunclub.com.