By Polly Keary, Editor
The push to create a shooting range in the Sultan area just got an unexpected boost when the county council turned what could have been a $100,000 funding loss into a $200,000 gain.
For years, the members of the Citizens for Responsible Environment and Shooting Trust, or CREST, have been working to create a shooting range and multi-sport facility on Sultan Basin Road.
There has been steady progress. In August the Dept. of Natural Resources turned a 187-acre piece of land near Lake Bronson over to Snohomish County for the purposes of making a range.
The range would address a lot of needs at once. It would replace illegal and dangerous, not to mention terribly polluted, shooting ranges along Olney Creek. It would make the area safer for hikers and others in the area. It would stimulate the local economy. And it would provide recreation, not only for gun enthusiasts, but for archers, mounted shooters, orienteers and potentially others.
But it will likely take at least a couple of million dollars to make the dream a reality.
The county council had planned to put $100,000 in the 2013 budget to help pay to get the project underway.
But at the last minute, CREST organizer and Sultan City Councilman Steve Slawson got word from Snohomish County Councilman Dave Somers, who represents the Sky Valley region, that the budget item might get removed.
The money for the range was to come from real estate excise taxes, and one council member had raised concerns about the money going to a shooting range.
Brain Sullivan, the council member in question, supported the park, but wanted to set the money aside until they could make sure the money was going for a correct use.
Concerned, many supporters of the range besieged the council with hundreds of emails and calls.
In the meantime, the city’s legal staff cleared the expenditure, and the council, in a 5-0 vote, decided to double the amount budgeted for the park.
“It’s quite an amazing thing, them doubling the amount of money,” said Slawson.
The money will go toward planning and design, he said.