Shooting complex in Sparta remains closed due to IL budget woes

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SPARTA, IL (KTVI) – The world’s largest outdoor shooting site remains closed due to Illinois budget problems.

It remains business unusual at the World Shooting Recreation Complex in Sparta. The $31.5 million venue opened in 2006, but was closed recently because of state budget woes.

“It's a big loss to the economic community here and the county,” said Brad Mayberry, Amateur Trapshooting Association. “There are a lot of good shoots that get put on here and a couple more we're supposed to have before the winter and that's a big loss. That's a big income.

The signs outside said what Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner promised in June, that he would pull the trigger on statewide cuts, closing museums and parks, including the complex, which hosts the Grand American shooting competition.

The Grand American brings in more than $10 million to Sparta, Red Bud, and the surrounding communities.

“I have a lot of friends with campers that rent campers out to people to come stay out here,” Mayberry said. “And it's hard to get a campsite during the Grand American. They fill a lot of them up and there's almost a thousand campsites.”

The Amateur Trapshooting Association just completed its tourney and has a contract with the Sparta complex through 2026.

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