A proposed county-maintained shooting range and expanding the facilities at Morgan Lake dominated the discussion at the Long County Chamber of Commerce’s Progress Through People Breakfast on March 24 at the Compass Worship Center in Ludowici.
David Mixon, regional game-management supervisor for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, told the crowd that approximately 1,100 acres are available in that area, and that the county is looking into upgrading the current facilities, which include a boat ramp and primitive campground.
The location is great for promoting ecotourism, he said, and one of the upgrades the county is looking into is adding a shooting complex. The closest shooting range to Long County is in Richmond Hill and has more than 10,000 visitors annually, Mixon said. Many visitors to that range include people from the Hinesville and Fort Stewart area. The complex currently offers a 100-yard shooting range and an archery range, and is open six days a week and staffed by three people.
Mixon said plans for Long County include more choices than the Richmond Hill facility. The plans, he said, are similar to a proposed range in Thomas County. That complex eventually will offer a skeet-and-trap field, a 200-yard rifle range, a 50-yard pistol range, an archery range, fishing and a nature trail. The total cost to complete this complex will be about $750,000, he said.
If Long County builds this type of facility, the state would provide $562,500, and the county would have to put in $187,500, or 25 percent of the total cost, Mixon said. Grant funds could not go toward any staffing but could be applied to the cost of buildings and equipment.
“The potential is great for ecotourism in that area for Long County,” he said.
Long County Sheriff Craig Nobles, a key supporter of the expansion, said that the project has drawn support from DNR Commissioner Mark Williams; state Rep. Jeff Jones, R-Brunswick; the Long County Board of Commissioners; the Development Authority of Long County; and the Long County Chamber of Commerce.
Coastal Pines Technical College President Dr. Glenn Deibert discussed the college’s recent merger with Okefenokee Technical College.
The merger occurred because of tighter budgeting, but the schools maintained every instructional position that they had prior to the change, Deibert said. He said that currently, Coastal Pines has campuses serving 13 counties, including Long County.
Chamber President Ray Howard also reported to the members the schedule of upcoming events. They are as follows:
• April 17: free shredding of documents available from 3-5 p.m. at Altamaha Federal Credit Union
• April 23: pancake supper from 5:30-7 p.m. at New Beginning Church.
• May 1: Relay for Life from 6 p.m.-midnight at the Long County Recreation Park.
• May 5: Law Day, 5:30 p.m. at the courthouse.