Saturday, November 25, 2017
News Roundup

Massive indoor gun range planned for Tarpon Springs site

RECOMMENDED READING


TARPON SPRINGS — A nearly 60,000-square-foot indoor gun range touted as one of the largest and most technologically advanced in the southeastern United States has crossed the first hurdle to approval here.

Reload Gun Range would feature 45 shooting lanes — seven of them at 100 yards, 18 at 25 yards and 20 at 15 yards — plus a full tactical range where law enforcement could train.

Plans call for a cafe, gunsmith service, classroom space and a 10,000-square-foot store that would sell everything from guns and ammunition to safes, hunting equipment, archery supplies and clothing.

Developers hope to start construction by June on the 57,533-square-foot facility, plus two 5,500-square-foot storage warehouses and 177 parking spaces, on 4 acres at 40050 U.S. 19, north of Klosterman Road.

Reload Gun Range scored city staff approval this week. The project will go to the planning and zoning board March 17 and to the Tarpon Springs City Commission for a final vote April 15.

The developer and city staff are planning a meeting with neighbors March 26.

During the design phase, developers toured a dozen gun ranges, evaluating pros, cons and the latest technology.

Elements they've incorporated into Reload's design include a high-tech ventilation system to filter gun smoke residue from the air, concrete walls for soundproofing and safety, machinery that automatically collects bullet fragments for recycling, and a room where police and the public can practice lifelike scenarios.

"We definitely worked hard to make sure it's the safest gun range around and the most technologically advanced," said David McComas, president of European Equities, the Clearwater-based developer. "This gun range is going to be a destination for gun enthusiasts, law enforcement and anybody in the general public that wants the opportunity to shoot and practice in a facility that's state of the art."

City officials are pleased that the project is planned for a property that has attracted transients and has blighted a city gateway. For a decade, a dilapidated Days Inn motel and IHOP restaurant sat empty on the property, drawing complaints from residents and nearby merchants.

The Reload developer would demolish the buildings and hopes to open the range by early 2015, landing the property back on city tax rolls and creating about 25 to 40 jobs, officials said.

"It's an area that we've been trying to attract more businesses, more sit-down restaurants, more shopping centers to," said city economic development manager Karen Lemmons. "This could be an opportunity for us to gain some better visibility for some of the other parcels that are available."

At nearly double the size of an unrelated shooting range proposed and subsequently scrapped last month in Seminole, developers say Reload would fill demand in North Pinellas as well as Pasco.

But City Manager Mark Lecouris, a former Tarpon police chief, said he believes the reach will stretch far beyond that.

"After 30 years in law enforcement, this looks like . . . this'll be one of the best facilities in the whole region," he said. "This looks absolutely first class, top notch. With people coming from all over, it'll be a real economic boon for the U.S. 19 corridor."

Keyonna Summers can be reached at (727) 445-4153, [email protected] or on Twitter @KeyonnaSummers.

 
Comments
Region football: Plant 13, Lakeland 10

Region football: Plant 13, Lakeland 10

LAKELAND — The game — and the season — were supposed to be over.Lakeland was set to exact revenge. The Dreadnaughts had the lead and the ball in the final three minutes and were heading for a field goal. Then it happened. The magic continued.Plant’s ...
Updated: 21 minutes ago

Region football: Venice 48, Tampa Bay Tech 17

VENICE — Tampa Bay Tech not only had to stop a hot receiver in Friday night’s Class 7A region final against Venice, but a hot running back as well. That proved to be too much.Indians receiver Jaivon Heiligh caught 14 passes for 193 yards and three to...
Updated: 23 minutes ago

Region football: Armwood 31, Ocala Vanguard 17

SEFFNER — Armwood appeared to be on its way to yet another rout through the first 24 minutes of football Friday night.James Miller delivered a crunching hit on the opening kickoff. The defense looked suffocating, holding Ocala Vanguard to a mere 23 y...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region football: Immokalee 42, Lakewood 14

IMMOKALEE — The final score wasn’t truly indicative of what transpired on Friday night.Lakewood fell to a dynamic Immokalee squad 42-14 in a tough environment in a Class 5A region final.The Spartans (9-2) forced three turnovers and held Immokalee (12...
Updated: 1 hour ago
State semifinal football: Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 49, Clearwater Central Catholic 3

State semifinal football: Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna 49, Clearwater Central Catholic 3

CLEARWATER — Stocked with a wealth of Division I-A commits and prepared by a heavy-duty schedule, Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna spent three months building for Friday night’s Class 3A state semifinal game.The Lions played at another level against top-s...
Updated: 2 hours ago

State semifinal football: Hialeah Champagnat Catholic 38, Cambridge Christian 0

TAMPA — Hialeah Champagnat Catholic was well on its way to a third unanswered touchdown, but the Lions just couldn’t stop blocking their own path. In one second-quarter drive during Friday’s 2A state semifinal against Cambridge Christian, Champagnat ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning attitude under fire after loss to Capitals

Lightning attitude under fire after loss to Capitals

WASHINGTON — You don’t often sense frustration in captain Steven Stamkos’ voice, at least not this season. With the Lightning off to its best start in franchise history, there haven’t been many reasons to chide. Every criticism seems nitpicky. But af...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Falcons: Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

The Bucs face the defending NFC champion in its new home Sunday in Atlanta.Here’s the Times’ Bucs coverage team’s predictions for Tampa Bay’s 1 p.m. game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium:MATTY ICE-FOLLIESRick Stroud, @NFLStroud: T...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Freshman quarterback leads Pitt to 24-14 upset over No. 2 Miami

Freshman quarterback leads Pitt to 24-14 upset over No. 2 Miami

PITTSBURGH — Miami spent the better part of 13 months cultivating the nation’s longest winning streak behind a series of comebacks that returned the swagger to "The U" in all of its "Turnover Chain" glory. Sluggish through the first half against Pitt...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida-Florida State: What’s really riding on Saturday’s game

Florida-Florida State: What’s really riding on Saturday’s game

GAINESVILLE — If misery loves company, at least the Gators and Seminoles have each other.That’s about the only positive in the least-appealing Florida-Florida State showdown in decades. Both enter Ben Hill Griffin Stadium today 4-6 — only the second ...
Updated: 3 hours ago