Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Creek shooting range gets new lease on life
By Charlie Meyers
Target shooters have dodged a very large bullet over the threatened closure of Cherry Creek Shooting Center, the only such facility still in operation in the Denver metro area.
An eleventh-hour deal brokered Friday by the administration of Gov. Bill Owens will keep the range, located on the south side of Cherry Creek State Park near the intersection of East Belleview Avenue and Jordan Road, operating under existing access arrangements for the next year.
The Jordan Road entrance, the route by which shooters traditionally have entered the park, would have closed Wednesday under a regional traffic plan. A closure would have forced users to access the range through one of the two main park entrances, requiring either a $50 season parks pass or a $7 daily fee. The park currently gets $1 for each shooter that visits the range, a fee collected by the shooting center.
"It doesn't make any sense for our customers to pay a $7 entry fee to shoot a $4 round of trap," said Peggy Duckworth, who operates the range with her husband Allan.
Tim Pollard, deputy director for wildlife and parks in the Department of Natural Resources, agrees.
"Paying a $7 access fee just doesn't work. That's way out of range," said Pollard, who suggested some compromise between the prices when a new lease goes into effect.
"We'll let the public tell us what they're willing to pay," Pollard said. "We're looking for public input on the issue."
Pollard emphasized there was no intent to harm the center's business while recognizing a conflict in certain documents involved in what has amounted to a 10-year contract between the Duckworths and Cherry Creek State Park. In keeping with parks policy, the shooting concession is coming up for bid. The Duckworths must compete with other potential competitors to keep the range.
Pollard passed off the dispute as a simple disagreement over the renegotiated contract.
"The Duckworths had one interpretation, some parks staffers had another," he said.
Peggy Duckworth suggested the park, always reaching for added revenue, was playing hardball in trying to reroute shooters through the main gates, even after a more amenable arrangement had been negotiated six months ago.
The ultimate challenge will come in developing some sort of identification system to separate shooting center clients from other park users when the entry changes are made next year. Meanwhile, the agreement to keep the quarter-mile Jordan Road link open for a year hinges on the concurrence of the town of Greenwood Village.
"We've asked Mayor David Phifer to honor the agreement," Pollard said.
Cherry Creek Shooting Center offers target shooting for rifles, pistols and shotguns. Hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Update on Cherry Creek State Park Shooting Range
As the result of intervention from the Governor’s office, the Jordan Road access to the Cherry Creek State Park Shooting Range will TEMPORARILY remain open. However, it is likely that this access will be closed in the coming weeks/months due to a property agreement between Greenwood Village and Arapahoe County. We have received assurances from Cherry Creek State Park that an accommodation will be made for shooters should the Jordan access be closed so that users of the range will not have to pay an entry fee every time they enter the Park.
On a more positive note, the range facility at Cherry Creek State Park will be significantly expanded in the near future. Preliminary plans will be submitted in the next few days and CSSA has been asked to participate in a review of the expansion plans and provide consultation/feedback regarding the final expansion plan. We will keep you informed regarding the Cherry Creek range expansion once final plans/schedules are announced.
Questions regarding the status and future of the range facilities at Cherry Creek State Park should be directed to Park Manager Carolyn Armstrong at 303-699-3860, ext. 724.
I was just there today; apparently, the road is scheduled to close on the 23rd (so say the signs), but Jordan Road is of little consequence. You can still get in on Peoria or Bellvue.