Metro-East News

Potential deal will keep Grand American shooting tournament in Sparta

In this Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 photo, a squad of shooters participate in opening day competition at the Grand American World Trapshooting Tournament at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex in Sparta, Ill.
In this Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2015 photo, a squad of shooters participate in opening day competition at the Grand American World Trapshooting Tournament at the World Shooting and Recreation Complex in Sparta, Ill. AP

The Amateur Trapshooting Association will announce on Friday what a Sparta city official and other media have said is a deal to ensure the World Shooting and Recreational Complex hosts the Grand American trapshooting tournament this summer.

Sparta City Manager Corey Rheinecker said Wednesday the agreement in place will “let the ATA come in May, June, July and August to operate the complex.”

Trapshooting operations at the Sparta complex, which is operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, was shuttered Oct. 1 during the state budget spat that is still ongoing, though the nine union workers employed at the site are still on the job.

According to IDNR, the complex brings in about $1.1 million each year but costs $3 million to operate.

But local officials say the complex and the events it hosts spurs millions of dollars of economic activity in the region.

The ATA is based in Sparta. Lynn Gipson, the group’s executive director, was not available for comment Wednesday.

“I’m anxious to hear what they have to say officially,” Rheinecker said. “For the city itself, we’re looking at a $25,000 or $30,000 sales tax revenue increase” over last year thanks to the Grand American.

The mechanics of the deal have yet to be announced.

State Rep. Jerry Costello II, D-Smithton, whose district includes the complex, was not available Wednesday to discuss how the state planned to allow the ATA to oversee shooting operations if the state budget impasse is not resolved and the facility remains closed.

The ATA will announce the agreement at 3 p.m. Friday at the complex.

Tobias Wall: 618-239-2501, @Wall_BND

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