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Hold your fire, Terre Haute! Although the various members of the Ellis clan are sometimes criticized for the way they do business, they’ve come up with a brilliant way to re-purpose a large retail site on the southside. We hope they’ll take the additional environmentally friendly step of reusing the existing sign, as suggested here.
On July 2, 2014, Steve Ellis, owner of Top Guns in Ellis Plaza, attended a Vigo County Area Planning Commission meeting hoping to get the “all clear” to move and expand his business with the probable acquisition of the former Furniture Gallery. In order for the building to be used a a gun shop and shooting range, it needed to be rezoned C-7.
Ellis’s planned expansion will include a new state-of-the-art 50-yard shooting range and expanded showcases for one of the city’s largest gun and tactical gear stores. Instead of the likely increase of gun sales in the area, it was the gun range that concerned most of the citizens at the meeting.
The shooting range housed within the building will be encased in 10 inches of concrete to provide ample sound-proofing and stop any caliber of round fired in the range. Range-safety instruction will be required for all first time visitors to the range. Once they feel at home, they’ll know what to do. The backwall, which stops the bullets being fired, will be angled downward and covered in pelleted rubber, which kills the remaining velocity left in the round and allows collection of the expended rounds for proper disposal — yet more evidence of good environmental consciousness. The description of the professional design and high-tech construction proposed elicited a positive response from the Commissioners, including Wayne Langman, representative of Riley and Lost Creek townships and an accomplished competitive shooter.
Those who spoke at the meeting voiced the obvious concerns about noise, and one attendee worried that it may wake the dogs in the neighborhood at night. Ellis very patiently dismissed the man’s concerns, claiming that the range would not be in operation that late. Thus showing a concern for animal welfare that often goes hand-in-hand with wanting to save the earth. A few citizens were concerned about the increased traffic to the area, since the intersection joining 7th Street is well-known for its poor design. Ellis deferred to the Planning Commission for that answer, as it was not his place to address road planning. And if you can find out whose place it is, let us know.
In the end, the Planning Commission unanimously voted to send a favorable recommendation to the County Commissioners to change the zoning to C-7 which would allow Ellis to purchase and begin building the new shooting range.
Ready, aim, fire! It looks as if there will soon be a new tourist destination in town.