Dwight Watt Internet Article #73

#73 - Atlanta Olympic Shooting Grounds…Keep or Close 9/25/2001

#73 - Atlanta Olympic Shooting Grounds…Keep or Close

Last Monday, September 17, 2001, an article was published in the Atlanta Constitution about the Tom Lowe Shooting Grounds. This article was further published nationwide. Friday, September 21, 2001 the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an editorial based on the article.

In July of 1999 and July of 2000 I was the chairman of The International BB Gun Championship Match (IBBGCM) held at the Tom Lowe Shooting Grounds. I have been working to have this match held there again in 2002. This match that lasts 4 days and requires use of the facilities for a week is the culmination of the shooting education program run by the US Junior Chamber, 4-H and other youth groups to teach children gun safety and save children from gun accidents. We had about 400 participants in 1999 and 2000 and expect the same in 2002. They were accompanied by their families from all over the United States.

In 1999 and 2000 we were unable to get much support from the Atlanta Visitors Bureau or the county or the city. Bob Barr spoke at the 1999 event and Dobbins RAFB supplied a color guard. The Holiday Inn at Virginia Avenue was highly supportive and we overflowed the hotel, thus having a positive financial impact on the city and county. If Fulton County was to promote this facility better, and support events there, I am confident usage would increase.

The article claimed it is used less than 30 days per year. This is peculiar in that I am trying to arrange this match for a 1 week time period between late June and early August, and basically they are already booked solid except for a small time. Late June to early August is only time for children, as many parts of country school does not let out until mid June and in Georgia school starts first of August. I know there are international matches held regularly there, and the Georgia Games shooting events were held there this year.

The article also claims that a high amount of money is spent on air conditioning the 3 warehouse type buildings. There are three warehouse type buildings there, but after the Olympics the air conditioning was removed in the 25-meter and 50-meter buildings. Only the 10-meter building is still air-conditioned. When we held the IBBGCM, we had to rent air conditioners for the crowd in the 50-meter building.

Before an educated decision can be made on this facility an audit needs to be performed to determine the real costs. The article stated that although they were using the figures they had, they suspected some other costs unrelated to the facility were charged to it.

The Tom Lowe Shooting Ground is a local treasure Atlanta/Fulton County should be proud of and promote. Having been to the Olympic Training Site in Colorado Springs this summer, I know that the Tom Lowe Shooting Grounds is a much better facility to hold national and international shooting events in. I would encourage the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to promote and report the results of events held at the Tom Lowe shooting Grounds. Atlanta, be proud of the gem you have and work to make it better.


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Copyright 2001.