The long-awaited, and somewhat controversial, shooting range is finally opening its doors this week in Crystal Lake.
Originally called Straight Shooters and expected to open June 2011, On Target Range and Tactical Training Center will open at 10 a.m. Wednesday at 560 Beechcraft Lane in Crystal Lake.
The shooting range was approved by the Crystal Lake City Council in November 2010 even though a number of Nunda Trail residents objected.
The residents weren't objecting to firearms, they objected to the increased traffic, possible pollution from lead bullets, and noise and safety issues.
Twelve Nunda Trail households had submitted a letter to the city's Planning and Zoning Committee asking the request be denied on those grounds. Several of them appeared at the city council meeting in 2010 when Crystal Lake developer Bo Strom petitioned the city to build and operate the site.
Residents weren't soothed by Strom's promises that the site would be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They weren't assured noise from inside wouldn't invade their peaceful neighborhood despite Strom's assurance that the walls would be heavily insulated or that the cache of guns and ammo stored inside would not attract a criminal element despite the security measures promised by the entrepreneur.
Nonetheless, the request was approved and ground was broken on the site, across the street from Country Side Flower Shop, just north of Route 176.
Mayor Aaron Shepley said he had a "level of comfort" after hearing Strom's proposal, the Planning and Zoning Commissions recommendation for it and the city council's requirement for annual environmental inspections added to the ordinance that evening.
"My office is a football field away and I'll observe if it attracts bad elements," he said, referring to criminal activity causing residents' concern. "I'm not a believer of that theory. The greatest benefit gained will be by local law enforcement."
The opening was pushed back, more than once, because there were delays in getting finished drawings and challenges obtaining financing.
On Target is billing itself as the "first and only indoor shooting range in McHenry County specifically designed and constructed as an indoor shooting range." The range houses three classrooms, including one large classroom that can accommodate up to 50 class participants.
The Crystal Lake Police Department could possibly utiilize the facility for the training of its officers. The department has used a facility in Huntley for its training.