Leave it to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker to put the final nail in the coffin of the “World Shooting Complex” in Sparta, Illinois. Pritzker and his (political) science-based Chi-com flu restrictions have driven the Grand American across the border to Missouri, where that state’s governor has welcomed the massive trapshooting championships and the money it brings to the local economy.
Built for about $50 million in the mid-2000s in actual construction costs plus infrastructure improvements, it was touted to be the nicest shooting facility in the nation. It’s nice, no doubt. 1,600 acres, with almost 750 campsites, 120 trap fields and a monstrous 34,000 square foot events center.
Its proponents touted that it would be a money making venture for the state, to the tune of $50 million or more in economic development, annually.
Yeah. In some make-believe world.
The facility has not turned a profit since it was built, much less bringing in $50M+ annually to the state. It has hemorrhaged millions each and every year.
What’s more, it hasn’t even boosted local sales tax revenue. In fact, local sales tax revenue has declined since the facility was built and at least as of 2015, they have sank to 2002 levels if you consider inflation.
Shooters react to proposed closure of World Shooting Complex
SPARTA, IL (KFVS) – The latest series of budget cuts announced by Illinois governor Bruce Rauner would suspend operations of the World Shooting Complex in Sparta Illinois.
The governor’s announcement consisted of more than $420 million in statewide cuts, which includes the suspension of all operations at the 1,600 acre complex, effective September 1st 2015.
The governor originally proposed a budget earlier in 2015 which was highly controversial due to what cuts included which were widely regarded as ‘severe’.
In response, a new budget has moved through the house and senate, but the administration claims that one leaves the state at a $4 billion deficit..
The Sparta shooting facility was built with an eye towards coaxing the Amateur Trapshooting Association to bring the tournament to Illinois. The ATA needed a massive facility but lacked the capital money to build such a facility. But Illinois – with its huge budget surpluses – eagerly stepped into the gap.
But now, with the Grand American pulling out, Sparta will likely face closure under this administration if the ATA doesn’t come back next year. Supposedly the ATA and Illinois have a contract through 2026, but contracts can be broken. Clearly Illinois didn’t honor its end of the bargain this year.
(The Center Square) – The Grand American, the largest trapshooting event in the world, is leaving Illinois and heading to Missouri this year.
The Illinois Department of Public Health and the Department of Natural Resources ruled that the annual event cannot take place near Sparta because of COVID-19 health concerns. Restrictions regarding the size of public gatherings under Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s reopening plan left organizers scrambling.
“The health and safety of participants who would attend, as well as spectators and staff, must remain top-of-mind,” Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Colleen Callahan said.
In anticipation of the decision, the Amateur Trapshooting Association had determined if the event could not be held near Sparta, Illinois, it would be relocated to Linn Creek, Missouri, in Lake of the Ozarks.
Trish Creach, the executive director of the nearby Camdenton Chamber of Commerce, said the town is ecstatic.
“We are pleased with the announcement and we will roll out the carpet for the ATA when they arrive in August,” Creach said. “Lodging properties are already getting phone calls from participants that are coming in for this event.”
Nice job, JB.
You’re quite the leader.