"Range 53" shooting facility planned for Harrison County - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

"Range 53" shooting facility planned for Harrison County

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

Plans to build a world class shooting range facility in Harrison County are moving forward.

The owners of  "Range 53" would like to begin construction on the project in the next 60 days.

Planning for this project began more than eight years ago. But now the five partners have all the necessary permits and environmental approval to begin construction on the 165 acre site off Shaw Road and Highway 53.

More than a shooting range, project plans include a swimming pool, tennis courts, a pro shop and restaurant.

"We'll start off with eight lanes on the indoor rifle and pistol," said David Comstock, the managing member for Range 53.

Comstock and his partners have ambitious plans. It's more than shooting facilities envisioned on the 165 acres.

"We're going to have a swimming pool. We plan to have tennis courts. We've got a training facility. You don't have to be a member to go to our training facility or use the pro shop," Comstock said.

Range 53 will host tournaments that attract visitors.

"We'll have anywhere from 12 to 15 hundred families that will come to the Mississippi Gulf Coast and spend two to three days at a shoot," said Comstock. "They're going to shop in our stores. They're going to go to our restaurants. They're going to buy gas."

The range is located a mile and a half off Shaw Road just north of Highway 53. An access road to the remote property will be constructed off Shaw Road.

"We picked this location for several reasons. One of the reasons is we're out. We're a mile from any home that's in the area," Comstock explained.

"Very few places you can go and really shoot your gun in a safe manner. This gives you the comfort and the facility to really be able to control your gun well and do a good job zeroing in. So, when you go out on a big hunt, your gun is ready," said David Shackleford, who supports the project plans.

Not everyone is excited about the plans for Range 53. Several residents in the area are organizing some opposition to the project. Their chief concern is noise from the firing range.

Comstock said the design of the shoot houses will help.

"That's going to be enclosed. It will be sound proofed to some point. It won't totally kill the noise, but it will reduce it greatly," Comstock added.

"This isn't somebody that's come in from out of town, throw this thing up and then leave. This is local people. That's why it's taken so long to get off the ground. We wanted to make sure we did it right before we announced this," said Comstock.

The group has cleared all the environmental hurdles and has the required conditional use permit from Harrison County.

A small RV park is also being planned for the site to better accommodate visitors.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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