Portions of the new Palm Beach County Shooting Sports Park north of The Acreage are now open under CDC restrictions due to COVID-19 precautions, according to officials at a Palm Beach County Commission meeting on Tuesday, July 7.
The shooting range operated by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission in partnership with Palm Beach County is open with limited access to rifle and handgun ranges Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. by appointment only.
The facility is operating at 50 percent capacity with a one-hour time limit per participant and only one person per lane allowed. The facility is located east of the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area on the former Mecca Farms property.
Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner invited Tom Reinert with the FWC to the dais to comment on an interlocal agreement for $1 million to help complete the shooting range.
Reinert said he appreciated the county’s help getting the road paved to the site.
“That’s the one thing that’s really going to complete the area. We are open for business. We were able to get it opened,” he said. “It has been a multi-year project, and we still have a ways to go on certain things, but the 200-yard, 100-yard and the handgun ranges are open by appointment, so we are doing social distancing and requiring appointments, but it is a resource available to the county.”
Reinert added that the shooting sports complex is a great partnership paid almost entirely by sportsmen, excise taxes and donations from other groups, and is a non-taxpayer burden.
“This is paid for by the folks who participate in these sports, so we greatly appreciate their continued interest, and want to foster that interest by providing a great, safe place for people to practice and to enjoy the shooting sport,” he said. “It’s a great facility; it’s looking fantastic. If you haven’t been there lately, I’d recommend going out there with us. It looks great, and it’s only going to get better.”
Palm Beach County Administrator Verdenia Baker praised Reinert for the work he has done with Palm Beach County.
“He has worked with the county on many issues that deal with water. He was here for the shooting range item as well, and he also works with our vessel issues,” Baker said.
Kerner said that the FWC has an important place in the county for the support of shooting sports.
“I can tell you, as a former law enforcement reserve officer with FWC, what an incredible agency that you have, and an important mission and role,” Kerner said. “I’m delighted to see this project move forward. I thank you for your cooperation, and I thank the board for your support. It’s an awesome countywide resource, and I’ve seen it personally.”
Kerner said that he is a lifetime member of the FWC. “It was certainly worth the cost, and I’m proud to have paid my fees to the state to help support this facility,” he said.
County Commissioner Melissa McKinlay said she made her contribution to the FWC with her saltwater fishing license last week and caught her two-snapper limit.
“I just want to say thank you, but I also appreciate the recognition that you’ve given this board to support what you’re trying to do there, but we also need to include [Assistant County Administrator] Todd Bonlarron, [Legislative Affairs Director] Rebecca De La Rosa and our entire legislative delegation for getting additional funds out of Tallahassee to make this happen a little bit faster.”
For more info., visit www.myfwc.com/hunting/safety-education/shooting-ranges/palm-beach.