The Iowa Department of Corrections is still considering building a gun range on state-owned property east of the Clarinda Correctional Facility, according to a department spokesperson last week.

In a 3-1 vote in February the Page County Board of Adjustment approved the outdoor, shooting range for Clarinda Correctional Facility officers. A proposed site is about 8.4 acres east of the prison near the intersection of 196th Street and S Avenue.

In February, Clarinda Correctional Facility officials explained the range plans must also meet all related state and federal guidelines. The spokesperson said last week there still is not a final, approved plan or construction schedule. The range would need to meet all other state and federal guidelines.

Officials explained the range would only be used for facility staff and local law enforcement agencies for training. Inmates would be used during some of the construction.

Several landowners near the proposed site were informed of the proposal and board meeting via letter from the prison dated Jan. 31. Landowners were present at the February meeting.

Comments ranged from unauthorized people attempting to use the range with their own weapons from the road. Errant shots landing on residences were also discussed.

Correctional officials explained 12-gauge shotguns, 40 mm handguns and 223 rifles would be used for training. The 223 has a trajectory of about 1 mile. Training would be held during the day every few months. There would be occasional trainings at night. Area property owners will be notified in advance of the training schedule. Flags would be used during training informing traffic of training.

Correctional officials said in February a shooting range developed by the Page County Conservation Board at Pierce Creek Park north of Shenandoah is not convenient for the facility because of the distance from the facility and expense to transport employees.

In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration and Iowa Department of Natural Resources ordered the city of Clarinda to close its gun range near the Clarinda municipal airport which was used by law-enforcement agencies and the Clarinda Correctional Facility. The closure was because of the amount of lead in the ground creating a hazard. The range had been open more than 30 years.

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