TARPON SPRINGS — A state-of-the-art gun range — the first of its kind in Pinellas County — that has been in the works for two years is finally scheduled to open in March.
Construction on Reload Gun Range, 40050 U.S. 19, started late last year. The nearly 60,000-square-foot gun range is on the west side of the highway north of Klosterman Road.
Justin Floyd, who is in charge of range development, said the delay was caused by building and licensing issues.
The wait hasn't put a damper on interest.
A gun range in Serbia with a similar name has a Facebook page filled with comments from excited Floridians.
About 200 yearly memberships have been purchased, Floyd said. The packages start at $69 and go up to $450 for a top-tier family membership.
People started lining up hours early to make sure they were able to sign up, Floyd said.
Floyd said most interest has come from Pinellas County and west Pasco County residents, who don't want to drive to Tampa for an impressive gun range.
The massive range will offer a 10,000-square-foot retail area filled with weapons, along with a members lounge, small restaurant and classroom space.
According to Floyd, the gun range is "designed to be family-oriented."
"The community seems excited," he said. "It's going to be good."
City economic development manager Karen Lemmons said Tarpon Springs is pleased with the project.
"There are lots of benefits," she said.
The range is bringing dozens of permanent jobs to Tarpon Springs, and the city will get about $54,000 in yearly property tax revenue.
A vacant hotel occupied the lot the range is on before construction started, she said. The city prefers for new builders to take deteriorating buildings and repurpose them rather than building on undeveloped land.
"That's the kind of development we like to see," Lemmons said.
And city officials are hopeful the gun range will drum up tourism.
"It'll expose the city to people who haven't been here," she said.
Contact Ayana Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4153. Follow @AyanaStewart.