Town of Palisade Administrator Rich Sales announced on Wednesday, Dec. 17, that the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) awarded full funding of a $2 million dollar economic development grant to the proposed Sport Shooting and Education complex on the site of the old Cameo power plant east of Palisade.

The grant request was filed in partnership with the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) for funding from the Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grant fund. In formal partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Town of Palisade will use the funding to purchase the land for the facility, then will lease the site back to the CPW for the design and construction of the complex.

Many factors were considered in awarding funding of the grant request such as the connection to energy impact, the degree of need for the project, whether there were measurable outcomes, as well as the amount of the request. Being an economic development grant, there had to be a relationship shown to community goals, as well as a level of funding matched by the community. Also necessary was adequate management and a willingness to get right to work on the project.

The required funding match by the Town of Palisade is being addressed in the somewhat unusual purchase/lease-back arrangement, enabling the Town to apply for the grant without putting cash on the line.

The Palisade Town Board of Trustees has supported this project wholeheartedly from the start, confident in its ability to bring tourism to Palisade and the valley, citing the year-round nature of the facility as one of the advantages.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has been an enthusiastic supporter of the facility as well, and visited the area in the summer of 2013 to get a better view of the location and terrain of the proposed complex.

The facility is planned to have ranges for archery, pistols, rifles and shotguns and will include classroom type facilities for hunter and outdoor education. Hunting and fishing contribute almost $1.8 billion dollars to the state’s economy each year; including license fees, fishing equipment, firearm and ammunition sales. National figures for sport shooting alone indicate that nearly $28 billion dollars is spent annually on the sport, with contributions of almost $3 billion dollars to conservation funds and nearly $5 billion dollars annually in tax revenue collected, so the potential for a positive economic impact on the area is definitely there. Shooting competitions, law enforcement training and practice, and various class offerings are expected at the complex as well as use of the practice ranges.

Town of Palisade staff will be involved in the design process, but the facility will be administered by Colorado Parks and Wildlife personnel.