Delaware Buys Sport Shooting Facility - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Buys Sport Shooting Facility

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GREENWOOD, Del. (WBOC)- It is an interesting purchase by the state of Delaware: a sporting clay range in Sussex County.

Delaware will pay about $2.25 million over the next three years for the facility, called Owens Station. Lawmakers set aside $750,000 this year to start buying it.

Owens Station spreads out over 104 acres near Greenwood. It is a multi-use facility with options for bird watching, fishing and, most-notably, sport shooting.

Bill Wolter owns it for now.

"There's nothing more exciting than trying to bust a clay target, and it doesn't harm anything," he said.

It is the only place in Delaware that has a sport clay course. After decades there, Wolter is ready to retire.

"I am 75-years-old next June. I could have gotten out years ago," Wolter said. "But I pursued working with the state of Delaware because I want this place to stay as it is. I don't want it developed with houses all over it."

This is the district of state rep. Dave Wilson, R-Bridgeville. He called the opportunity for the state to buy Owens Station once in a lifetime.

"A residential property, a 100-acre farm in any other part of the county, I don't think you be successful finding governmental units or residents who would want to see this in their backyard," he said. "This is something that's up and running. You're not buying something you're getting ready to start. It's something that's started."

Wilson said there were people questioning whether the state should spend money on a facility like this. He responded by pointing to a range near New Castle that Delaware already operates.

While the state will own this property, private vendors will operate it.

"I could see it being a money maker for the state if it's properly run with the leases on it," he said. "We're looking for longer-term leases, a 10-year lease."

Wolter said Owens Station was profitable for him. And he agrees it could be for Delaware, as well, in the years to come.

DNREC will deal with the future of the property once the sale is complete. That will likely happen later this summer. Long-term plans could include a rifle or pistol range.

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