(Riverton, WY) The initial search has begun for a location of a state shooting complex, and was an agenda item on the Fremont County Council of Governments’ monthly meeting which convened on April 27 in the Riverton’s city council chambers.
Representative Pepper Ottman, who is now on the Wyoming State Shooting Complex Task Force, briefly addressed the FCAG mayors with information on SF0169 and the steps being taken in moving forward in finding a location for the complex. Ottman hopes that there will already be ideas on the table when the task force comes to Fremont County.
“What my thing is, is on (the) site selection,” Ottman said, mentioning concerns about locales being near schools or prisons. “My thoughts are…is it going to be state land, is it going to be county land, is it going to be public land, is it going to be private land? We’re not going to find a piece of property that somebody thinks would be ideal–whether because of ownership or transfer of title–and then come up with all these problems down the road. The soils, the roads, the utilities, parking…all of these things need to be considered, in my opinion, on the front, not the back end. That way, we’ll already have some ideas about an ideal place, or how we could make this happen.”
The task force will require a report and appropriate funds to the Legislative Service Office, which “altogether, are allotted $10 million,” Ottman said, “At first, I was thinking, ‘We need a coffee can to put this in,’ but we’ll see where it goes. It’s just also good information for a private entity if it doesn’t go through.”
Ottman said that when she was the chairman of the county party, she wanted to team with the state party “for what Fremont County has,” she said, mentioning conversations about the county’s central location, and the improvements being made with the airport. “That was ten years ago. People come in for a lot of shooting competitions and things like that, plus they’re going to be bringing their vehicles to stay…so that’s where the parking comes in. I’m hoping to add archery to this as well.”
“Fremont County, which is central Wyoming…not Natrona County,” said Shoshoni Mayor Joel Highsmith, who had already had conversations with the Wyoming Shooting Association and the NRA, and plans on future talks with the Town of Dubois. “Other shooting associations should be involved with this. Shoshoni may be a great place, it may not.”
Highsmith also voiced his questions about State support. “A complex envisioned like this is going to take a lot of maintenance and upkeep,” he said. “You’re going to end up involving people with that, and have paid positions to manage the complex…I don’t know what would best serve the state. Instead of just one facility, maybe there are multiple facilities across the state that they could spend this $10 million to develop certain facilities.”
Ottman said that the $10 million is not guaranteed. “That’s what the task force is all about,” she said. “I wanted to get it out there on the front end just so that the communities and mayors could have an opportunity to talk to different entities and see what would really be good for the state, and what would be really good for our county.”
“I think we should push really hard for this to be in Fremont County,” said FCAG Chair and Lander Mayor Monte Richardson.
Fremont County Commissioner Jones asked if the task force was a special committee, to which Ottman replied that it is a subcommittee, “made up of approximately twenty people from all facets, government and private,” she said. “I haven’t seen the list of everyone…I don’t know if they’re going to fill that in on the bill itself or how that will work.”
Ottman said that she would keep the mayors updated and welcomes additional questions, insights, and input.
The Fremont County Association of Governments generally meets on the last Thursday of each month at 1:00 p.m. For more information, contact Gary Michaud at [email protected], or visit fcagovts.com.