GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The city of Gulfport is on track to get a state-of-the-art indoor shooting range. The developer has had plans in the works for almost a decade. It was just a matter of finding the right venue. The Gulfport City Council put the plans one step closer to action in a meeting Tuesday afternoon.
"Overall, we've got the basic numbers and we're ready to go forward," said David Comstock.
He has been trying to open a shooting range for around nine years. At first it was going to be an outdoor venue called Range 53 in Harrison County, but those plans were nixed. Now, Comstock has finally gotten approval for his newest plan, but it hasn't been easy.
"Pun intended, it has been a moving target to this point. And now that we've got a defined location that we're going to, we'll finish the business plan and get it up and get it going very quickly," said Comstock.
He's planning to transform part of the Seaway Marine Center, beside the Dock Bar and Grille, into the multi-million dollar gun range facility.
"There's a demand all over the country for this type of venue," he said.
Plans for the 26,500 square feet of space include eight lanes of shooting range, 3,000 square feet of retail space, and a training area. Comstock said the trainer lined up to work at the gun range has even offered to train Gulfport police for free.
"When he gets through with them, you should have the finest trained police department in the country," said Comstock.
The City Council voted to amend zoning ordinances to allow a shooting range in the area. But, before the vote could happen, council members expressed their excitement for the project moving forward.
Ward 5 Council member, Myles Sharp said, "I think this is the first step for other opportunities. Aside from the fact that we are in South Mississippi, we have a lot of gun enthusiasts and we need a safe place for those folks to go."
Ward 6 Council member, R. Lee Flowers agreed, "This is an absolutely great project!"
The vote was carried unanimously. Comstock said he plans to keep the name, Range 53, and hopes to have a grand opening in less than nine months. He said his original intention was to have an indoor and outdoor facility in the same area. But, because of zoning issues, he is planning to open an outdoor shooting range in Stone County.