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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2003

WORLD SHOOTING COMPLEX PROPERTY ACQUIRED; A/E FIRM SELECTED TO DEVELOP MASTER MANAGEMENT PLAN

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Department of Natural Resources has taken possession of 1,179 acres of land in southwest Illinois near Sparta in Randolph County, site of the proposed World Shooting Complex and has hired a private company to develop a plan for the site.

The property was acquired for $1.8 million from a subsidiary of Peabody Energy, the world’s largest coal company.

"We are continuing to move ahead on the World Shooting Complex – a facility that we believe will be an important tourism component in Southern Illinois and bring millions of dollars to the local and state economy," said IDNR Director Joel Brunsvold.

The consulting team to develop the master plan has been selected and a master plan is expected to be completed early in 2004. Cochran & Wilken, Inc., of Springfield will develop the plan, along with several consultants the company is contracting with. The firm of consulting engineers and scientists, has provided services to the state of Illinois for nearly 20 years.

Illinois is one of two states in the running to attract the Ohio-based Amateur Trapshooting Association and its major shooting event, the "Grand National". The ATA is the governing body for the sport of American-style trapshooting and has more than 100,000 members in the U.S., Canada and other countries. The organization is expected to reach a decision by next spring. In addition the National Sporting Clays Association and the National Skeet Shooting Association have committed to bring major events to the site.

"We’ve been working on this project for the last few years and we are very committed to making it happen," Brunsvold said.

In addition to the shooting facilities the property is intended to attract major camping and other similar rendevous groups to Illinois.

The development is expected to be phased in over several years, with much of the funding coming from private investment. The city of Sparta, a key partner in the project, is assisting with sewer and water hook-ups on the property.

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