Buddy Lichty, who owns Shooters Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Augusta, and two business partners are developing a public range for high-power rifle and pistol shooting, with room for archery use, on nearly 8 acres off Gun Club Road near the Interstate 20 exit.
The group purchased the bulk of the property in October after having it rezoned from light- to heavy-industrial earlier last year. The parcel is behind a FedEx Ground facility and abuts Martin Marietta Materials, a nearly 600-acre rock quarry.
“It was an opportunity that just fell in my lap, so to speak,” said Lichty, referring to when he found out the property would be put on the market.
VFW Post 3200 closed in August 2012 when there were no volunteers to fill leadership positions. The post’s charter dated back at least 70 years.
Lichty said the 6,000-square-foot building is undergoing renovations and will become a members’ lounge and sell firearms, ammunition, targets and other range accessories. There also are plans to install training simulators, he said.
Lichty said he hopes the facility, named Sharpe Shooters, will be completed by late spring or summer. The range will put an emphasis on shooting education and safety, catering to a family-friendly experience, he said.
Lichty also envisions holding national and community professional, collegiate and amateur shooting events at the business.
“Being that we’re right off I-20 with hotels and restaurants right in our vicinity, we hope that we can attract and host those events with some success,” said Lichty, adding that Cabela’s is opening less than a mile away in the Village at Riverwatch development.
“We hope to put Augusta on the map in terms of a shooting facility for the Southeast,” he said. “That’s our pie-in-the-sky goal.”
In 2012, Lichty and his wife took over ownership of Shooters on Patriots Way after he retired from his career as an information technology business consultant.