Basalt raises $49,000 to reduce gun range noise
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – Basalt submitted an application Thursday for a grant that officials hope increases the level of peace and quiet come summer.
The town government is trying to raise $163,000 to build enclosures designed to muffle the noise coming from the Lake Christine shooting range. The plan is to build partial enclosures around where shooters stand at the rifle and pistol ranges. They would be able to fire out, but the enclosures would prevent most of the sound from carrying.
Basalt had to raise at least $40,000 in matching funds to qualify for a grant from the Colorado Division of Wildlife. It exceeded its goal by raising about $49,000 to date, said Basalt Town Manager Bill Kane. The contributions included: $20,000 from Basalt town government; $10,000 from Eagle County’s Community Improvement Projects fund; $7,500 from Pitkin County; $5,000 from the Wilds housing development; $5,000 from Alpine Bank; $1,000 from the Southside subdivision; and $600 from the Elks Club.
The town will seek the remainder of the funds from the wildlife division.
There have been intermittent battles over the noise from the shooting range for more than a decade. The gun range is on the hillside west of downtown, adjacent to Lake Christine.
Some town residents complain that the sound emanating from the range is too much of a nuisance. Shooting range users counter they have bent over backward to ease the disturbance by shortening hours, and they don’t want to make further concessions. The state wildlife division owns the range and vows to keep it open because it provides so many community benefits. It’s used for everything from training gun safety to a local 4H Club to giving hunters a place to adjust their sights.
The Colorado Wildlife Commission shortened hours at the range in December on request from the town. It closed the range at 5 p.m. rather than 7 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Now it is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
The commission reserved the right to resume longer hours if sound mitigation is successful.
Kane said the town hopes to learn if it received the wildlife commission grant in the spring. That will give it enough time to build the enclosures by summer, when use of the facility picks up.
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