Discussions are taking place for Daviess County Parks and Recreation to take over operations of the now-closed 72-acre Daviess County Gun Club on Kentucky 2830 near Maceo.
"We have not done anything or made any decisions," said Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly. "We are kind of fleshing things out. I have told the (Daviess County Parks and Recreation) department to secure the building and clean it up. I have tasked Jordan (Jordan Johnson, county purchasing manager) to get some quotes on equipment and for the department to take it over. We haven't done anything formally."
There is a great deal to be done, such as acquiring equipment and figuring out staffing and operations management before Daviess Fiscal Court, who will have to approve any measures moving forward, weighs in on the prospect, said parks Director Ross Leigh.
"As a department, we are doing nothing more than taking care of a parcel that the county owns," he said. "Any decision lies solely in the hands of the elected officials. ... It has to go before them and if they agree to make that investment of what is required to run a gun club. What we are dealing with now is spraying out the lot, mowing the property and cleaning debris from high waters."
While early in the planning phases, the county parks department running the club could not only ensure consistency in operations but a self-sustaining program, Mattingly said.
"Unlike other parks' formats, this has the potential to pay for itself," he said. "There will be a fee charged for people to use it if we pursue this course. In the past, a membership of $50 to $60 a year was required, and members receive a discount on clays, etc. So, if you shot a lot, it was definitely worth the membership. We would even consider archery given the popularity of the sport."
If the parks department does eventually take over operations of the facility, the initial discussion has been to maintain the club's roots of primarily providing shotgun-related activities, Leigh said.
"Historically that is what has taken place on the property," he said. "Obviously trap, skeet and sporting clays. The facility has 10 sporting clay stations along a gravel path, where patrons go from station to station around the property where the skeet are thrown in various directions where they can shoot like a traditional area. There are also established concrete stations for shooting."
The property housing the gun club was originally operated by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources until the mid-1980s when it was closed with the intention of developing a bird sanctuary. In 2003, the state donated the land to Daviess County with the caveat that it be used only as a recreational shooting facility.
Later that year, Daviess Fiscal Court agreed to spend $100,000 to build skeet and trap ranges and help fund the renovation of an existing clubhouse. Retired Daviess County Fire Chief Joe Kennedy and business partner Steve Scott then invested their own money to continue renovations and reopen the facility that had been closed for years.
In 2013, the pair ended their agreement with the county, and Jesse Pollock, of Rockport, Indiana, took it over. Pollock announced his intention to retire in January 2017, and Matt and Bethany Schneider, of Lexington, managed the property until the first of the year. The club has not been open during the 2019 season, Mattingly said.
Jacob Mulliken, 270-228-2837, email@example.com