Shooting complex given green light for southern Illinois

Sunday, August 1, 2004

SPARTA, Ill. -- The Illinois legislature last weekend approved $29 million to build the World Shooting Complex, a 1,200-acre shooting range and campground in this southwestern Illinois town.

The complex survived the fight over the state budget.

The 100,000-member Amateur Trapshooting Association has pledged to hold its annual Grand American World Trapshooting Championship there starting in 2006 -- provided that it gets built.

The 80-year-old Grand American routinely attracts some 150,000 shooters, spectators and others to the event, which is now held near the group's current headquarters in Vandalia, Ohio.

A University of Illinois study found that the Grand American and other shooting competitions could pump $13.5 million into the threadbare town of 4,800 people, which is 50 miles southeast of St. Louis amid shuttered coal mines.

Officials from the Amateur Trapshooting Association had expressed confidence during the budget impasse that the project would get funded.

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