LITTLE EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Business owner Thomas Gormley said he hopes to break ground in eight weeks for a new 25,000-square-foot indoor shooting and archery range on Route 539 in the township.
Earlier plans for the 23-acre parcel just off the Garden State Parkway at Exit 58 included a Delilah’s Den strip club and most recently a trash transfer station proposed by the Ocean County Landfill Corp.
But Gormley and partner George Kurtz received unanimous approval in the spring from the township Planning Board to build Shooters Sporting Center. The facility will extend across 3 acres of the parcel’s property and take about five months to build, Gormley said.
Gormley, who also owns Tips Hardware in Eagleswood Township, said the project will cost $4 million.
The pair said they are still waiting on a few state and county approvals so the township’s Planning Board engineer can sign off on the project.
The indoor shooting and archery range will be the only facility of its kind within an hour of the township, Gormley said. The sporting center will feature 15 indoor shooting lanes, 10 indoor archery lanes and 10,000 square feet of retail space with 27 gun cases on display.
Gormley and Kurtz said they chose a rustic architectural style for the facility, with a metal roof and cedar and stone facade. The interior of the facility will feature cathedral ceilings and knotty pine walls.
“We didn’t want to be compared with Cabela’s, so we chose a different color combination. We went very rustic and are using rough lumber. We want to really make it attractive. We want it to have the wow factor,” Kurtz said.
Gormley said the facility will create eight full-time jobs and four to eight part-time positions.
Kurtz, of Bass River Township, is the general contractor for the project and said he and Gormley traveled throughout the tri-state area during the past few months, visiting indoor shooting ranges.
A 10-year membership at the facility covers an entire family of members up to 18 years old, and shooting and archery classes will be offered to members of all ages, Kurtz said.
The pair said they are also hoping to cater to police departments in southern New Jersey.
“Police officers throughout southern Jersey need to qualify each year with shooting, and this would be some place they could come down to. We’re setting aside a few private lanes for them so they can qualify,” Kurtz said.
Right now, many departments in southern Ocean County shoot and qualify at a location at the Federal Aviation Administration’s William J. Hughes Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, Gormley said.
Gormley said police officers also will be permitted to shoot regular ammunition at Shooters Sporting Center. Most ranges require the use of more expensive ammunition designed to fragment as a safety precaution.
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