Area shooting enthusiasts will wait until February, 2012 to enjoy Straight Shooters Gallery, the new Crystal Lake indoor shooting range.
The gallery was originally scheduled to open June 1 of this year when the at 560 Beachcraft Lane in Oct. 2010.
Crystal Lake developer and Straight Shooters partner, Bo Strom, said there were delays in getting finished drawings and challenges obtaining financing in the current economical climate.
“We’ve broken ground and done some preliminary earthwork,” he said.
He had hoped to get foundation work going by Sept. 5, but there were no workers at the two-acre site Sept. 6. Only a few solitary earth movers sat on the edge of the cleared property.
The indoor shooting range and training facility will operate seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in a cement-walled building. Twelve firing lanes for rifles and another 12 for handguns will be on the first floor, with a 3,200-square-foot second floor mezzanine for classroom instruction. Firearms and ammunition will be sold on the premises.
Marksman David Holtz is looking forward to the Crystal Lake facility and had hoped it might open this year.
He travels to HP Shooting Center in McHenry for pistol practice, but has to travel to Sycamore Sportsman’s Club to shoot his rifles.
Straight Shooters Gallery will provide him with what he wants in close proximity to his Elgin residence.
He supports another local range where people can learn about gun safety and have the opportunity to learn and practice handling firearms.
A former police officer, Holtz said people who are objecting to the range may be misinformed about its purpose.
Law-abiding citizens will use it for training and practice under supervision while surrounded by thick, concrete, soundproof walls.
Criminal types are deterred from such locations by the presence of law enforcement and/or security personnel, he said.
There are also misconceptions about what gun enthusiasts are about.
“People have an idea of someone with a beer in one hand and a shotgun in the other. That’s not even close to it,” he said.
He said people from all walks of life and all ages enjoy the sport. There are a variety of firearms competitions people engage in throughout the state.
Twelve residents from Nunda Trail, outside the city limits but within several hundred feet of the site, had petitioned the city against the facility in Oct. 2010. They were concerned about increased traffic, possible pollution from lead bullets, noise and safety issues.
City officials said the location is zoned for industrial use and the site might attract other developers to the city. Sales tax from Straight Shooters Gallery will be minimal.
Strom met with Woodstock Police earlier this year to discuss the possibility of conducting police firearms training at Straight Shooters.
“We looked at the blueprints and that facility would have what we would be interested in,” said Sgt. Dan Wesolek.
At the time of their meeting, Strom didn’t have cost estimates and scheduling would have to be worked out. However, if an agreement can be reached, Wesolek said it would be more convenient to train at Straight Shooters rather than travel to Belvidere Police Department where training currently takes place.
Strom said he’s been deluged with employment applications. He is seeking individuals who are qualified in the shooting industry to operate Straight Shooters.
“We’ll be contacting them closer to the building being complete