By Mike Linn: CNJ news editor
A local entrepreneur plans to build a $1.2 million shooting range outside of Clovis and has offered to allow local law enforcement agencies to use his facility at a discounted rate.
Stephen D. Powell presented his plans for Patriot Arms Training Center at Thursday’s city commission meeting, just two weeks after the commission made $400,000 for a regional firing range their top request from the state Legislature in 2005.
Powell, who predicted his facility will be ready by summer, said he could rent the range for Clovis police training for anywhere between $6,000 and $10,000 a year.
“This could be a win-win situation,” Clovis Mayor David Lansford said.
Clovis Police Chief Bill Carey two weeks ago said law enforcement firing practice has been halted due to the recent closure of the city’s firing range because of expansion. Portales and Cannon Air Force Base have shut down their firing ranges as well, Carey said.
Powell said there isn’t a public shooting facility within 90 miles of Clovis, and the 1,600-acre range he’s proposing would be a boon to the area.
“We will have traffic coming into Clovis,” Powell said. “The shooting industry has a huge impact.”
Powell said the range — located about 4 miles northwest of Clovis on County Road 16 — would offer skeet shooting, pistol ranges, and pop-up and moveable targets.
He said he has an environmental plan to curb led containment into the soil and groundwater, and has a plan to reduce the loud sounds of guns.
He said there are thousands of gun enthusiasts in the area who would serve as his base business.
Powell said gun safety training would also be available at his facility.
Also at the meeting:
• Like the Clovis school board, the commission voted to neither accept or fight a proposal that would increase water rates 17.05 percent.
Originally, New Mexico American Water sought a 17.17-percent increase for Clovis schools and the city.
Both entities have received a reduced water rate over the years, officials say.
The state’s Public Regulation Commission in December will decide whether to accept the proposed water-rate hike, which would likely take affect after Jan. 1. The hike would increase the city’s annual water bill by between $25,000 and $30,000.
• The commission voted 5-2 to seek bids from companies to build a civic center in Clovis. The commission in August approved a budget increase from $5 million to $6 million to fund refinement of the proposed civic center.