County considers $45K shooting sports request


The 4-H Shooting Sports program is in need of storage space.

But neither the program nor the 4-H Council has the $45,000 needed to build a structure, so representatives asked the Dubois County Commissioners Monday to cover most of the cost.

Equipment used for the program is now stored in five different buildings on the 4-H Fairgrounds property. But having one building to keep the equipment would be ideal, 4-H Council head Casey Reckelhoff said.

The building being proposed would be 40-by-50 feet and about 14 feet tall. It would sit south of the farm bureau’s building, which is on the southwest corner of the fairgrounds’ main lot, he said. The building would be big enough to store all the equipment, as well as the stage owned by Dubois County Tourism, and could used for various community events.

When activities are occurring, such as the upcoming 4-H Fair, the equipment currently has be to moved out the way, Reckelhoff said. In the case of the stage, he said, it will have to be removed from the horse barn and stored outside until the barn is available again. In exchange for storing the stage, the 4-H Council is allowed to use the stage free of charge, he said.

The council is willing to contribute $5,000 and the Shooting Sports program will also contribute, Reckelhoff said. The tourism department has said that it doesn’t have any money to contribute, he added.

Shooting Sports, which has existed since 1983, trains kids about firearms and gun safety. Tim Beck, one of the leaders, said all instructors are certified by the state and the program “pretty much stands on its own.”

Jared Beck said about 30 volunteers work with in the program. Between 100 and 120 kids enroll each year. Shooting sports also help with the hunter education program, which has just as many students participating, he said.

“We are a few (programs) in the state that supplies all equipment for kids,” he said.

Because the volunteers are coming out in the evenings for the program, it would be easier to get the equipment from one centralized place, instead of running around to different buildings, Jared Beck explained.

The commissioners were divided on their support of the project.

Commissioners Nick Hostetter and Elmer Brames favored helping with the cost of the storage building. Hostetter reasoned that the program is beneficial to children by giving them proper training and education about firearms.

Commissioner Chad Blessinger said that while he sees the need, the lease between the county and the council states that such improvements are to be paid for by the 4-H council. Also, the county must prioritize the various funding requests it receives from different groups.

Brames requested that the council bring back a concrete cost for the building, as well as how much will be contributed by the council and shooting sports. Hostetter said he wants the tourism department to contribute as well. Reckelhoff said he will gather that information and come back to a future commissioners meeting.

The commissioners also:

• Set a public hearing to get comments about the justice study. The study includes two suggestions for improving the county’s justice system, mainly to address the need for a larger jail facility. The hearing will be at 8 a.m. Monday, July 15, which is the beginning of the commissioners’ next meeting. The hearing will be held in the commissioners/council room, on the second floor of the Dubois County Courthouse Annex, 602 Main St., Jasper.

• Gave Michael and Dwayne Schepers until Sept. 16 to remove a dilapidated structure at 4161 W. County Road 400N. The brothers have been clearing 4119 and 4161 W. County Road 400N, which are in Michael Schepers’ possession, of debris, but have not yet taken down the structure, Shawn Werner, environmental health specialist for the Dubois County Health Department said. If the building isn’t removed by the due date, the county will remove it and charge the cost to the property, the commissioners determined.

• Heard that the property at 571 E. 300N has been cleaned up. The trailer and vehicles have been removed, the debris has been cleared and the pole barn has been sold and soon will be removed, County Attorney Greg Schnarr said. The property, formerly owned by Julie Greener, is now owned by Stan Kunkel, who plans to build a house on it.

• Approved using portions of county roads 500 North and 700 West between 12:30 and 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, for the 10th annual Irish Road Bowling.

• Decided to keep its contribution to the Dubois County Museum at $10,000. Museum officials asked the commissioners to consider adding $50,000 for a full-time museum director, a request they have also taken to the Dubois County Council.

• Reviewed various departments’ 2020 budget proposals, including their own. The Dubois County Council will go over all 2020 budget proposals at its daylong budget meeting on Monday, Aug. 12.

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