Land deal clears way for shooting complex

A real estate transaction transferring ownership of properties at Cameo to the Town of Palisade clears the way for the development of a shooting complex.

The Town of Palisade, Xcel Energy and Snowcap Coal Company closed on the transaction.

Made possible with a $2 million grant from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs and an additional $2 million committed by Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the purchase clears the way for the agency to begin designing and constructing what’s envisioned as a world-class shooting and education complex.

“We have all been working very hard to get to this point, and it has finally happened,” said Rich Sales, administrator of the Town of Palisade. “This was a unique transaction with a variety of considerations that led to a long, involved negotiation process. But by working closely with our many partners, we got it done. Now we are looking forward to the groundbreaking, then design and construction.”

Kelly Flenniken, area manager for community and local government affairs for Xcel Energy, said the company was proud to participate in the effort. “The location will provide for a convenient, safe, sport shooting and education complex. Additionally, we know this project will aid in the community’s economic development efforts, and we are thrilled to be a part of that as well.”

According to a recent National Shooting Sports Foundation report, hunting and target shooting contribute $110 billion to the United States economy.

Greg Shurbet of Snowcap Coal Company said he’s pleased the property will be put to good use. “We are just as excited as everyone else in the area to see a safe shooting facility of this magnitude come to the West Slope, and glad to be a part of it.”

Through an inter-governmental agreement, the Town of Palisade will lease the land to CPW. Working with a variety of experts, agency officials will design and build what will eventually be a one-of-a-kind facility.

Sales said Mesa County is working with the design team to ensure the complex meets county standards.

“This is very exciting news,” said J.T. Romatzke, area wildlife manager for CPW in Grand Junction. “Once it has been completed, the complex will not only be a place to safely shoot rifles, pistols, archery and shotguns, it will be a place where kids can learn about the safe use of firearms, law enforcement can train, and it will be a place people from all over the country and world can participate in organized shooting competition.”

While a completed facility is still years away, Romatzke said the purchase of the properties clears the way for the construction of temporary shooting stations for people to shoot rifles and pistols.

“It will take several years before we see the full potential of what this complex can be. But in the meantime, we will work to provide a place for shooters to practice and sight-in their firearms,” he said. “The public can expect to see things happening very soon.  But until further notice, there is no shooting or hunting allowed in the area until it’s safe to do so. We ask for everyone’s patience and cooperation.”