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Indoor shooting range coming to Henrico

Facility expected to be largest in the U.S.
An indoor shooting range billed as the largest such facility in the nation is coming to Henrico County.

Colonial Shooting Academy is expected to open in February at 6020 West Broad Street near Willow Lawn, in the former Colony House Furniture building. The facility will be open seven days a week and house 39 shooting stations for use by members or the general public, as well as 11 stations for law enforcement training and a "shoot house," in which officers can practice various scenarios.

"It's real exciting for us, because there's a huge need," said general manager Ed Coleman, "and we feel like we're meeting that need."

In Central Virginia, there are three outdoor ranges and one indoor range. Coleman has been affiliated with one of the outdoor ranges – Cavalier Rifle and Pistol Club in Hanover County – for nearly four decades and said the new facility will appeal to a range of customers.

"We've been all over the country looking at indoor ranges," he said. "Typically what we've found is professional people or tradesmen who are interested in shooting and need a place to shoot, or people who are interested in shooting competitions, which we'll have some of."

The facility earned plan of development approval from the Henrico Planning Commission late last month, clearing the way for demolition and renovation work to begin inside the structure. Investors in the shooting academy expect to spend $6 million or more outfitting the building during the coming months, Coleman said.

The building, owned by the real estate firm Spotts and Carneal, has been vacant since Colony House Furniture closed several years ago. Spotts and Carneal principal Courtland Spotts is the academy's managing partner and a primary investor. (Ed Lacy, another real estate official, is the other primary investor.)

The facility will offer memberships – beginning at $35 a month with a $100 initiation fee – but also will accept walk-in customers and offer gun rentals. One hour of shooting time will cost $20, Coleman said. Twenty-yard and 25-yard shooting ranges will be available, and the facility intends to offer some firearms for sale.

All customers and members will be required to take an on-site safety course prior to their first use of the facility and once every 12 months thereafter, Coleman said.

The academy is expected to employ 25 to 30 people, Coleman said. Among the facility's instructors will be recently retired Henrico Police Chief Henry Stanley.

The firearms industry as a whole has shown steady growth in recent years – including growth of more than 15 percent annually in the past few among first-time firearm owners, according to Coleman.

But many of those new owners lack formal training or the opportunity to access it nearby, he said. That's a void that the new facility will seek to fill locally, he said.

"There are very few facilities where you can go to learn," Coleman said. "Our primary purpose is to create a good, safe place for people to learn to shoot. We'll have a safe, secure environment where people can come and take classes and learn proper shooting techniques."

Coleman also expects that the academy's role with local law enforcement agencies will expand over time. Because of its vast amount of space, it will be able to offer local police departments training opportunities that many of them – even larger ones – may lack, he said.

Colonial Shooting Academy will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

More details about the facility will be available during the coming months on its website (http://www.colonialshooting.com) and by phone (804-266-AMMO).


Community

Garden tails

The threat of bad weather didn’t keep visitors away from Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden July 10 for the facility’s weekly Flowers After 5 event (which pairs music and food with a chance to stroll the garden) and its monthly Fidos After 5 (which allows dog owners to bring their pets with them to enjoy the evening). > Read more.

Western Henrico Rotary helps fund Midwives For Haiti Jeep


Thanks in part to a $10,000 gift from the Western Henrico Rotary Club, another bright pink Jeep modified to travel extremely rough terrain has been delivered to Midwives For Haiti so that more pregnant women in the quake-ravaged country will have access to prenatal care and a greater chance of surviving childbirth.

The funds were raised at the annual casino night held in February, club president Adam Cherry said. The Rotary Club also helped purchase the Virginia-based charity’s first pink jeep three years ago. > Read more.

Agencies combine on new entry point to Chickahominy


Canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts soon will have a new access point to the Chickahominy River. VDOT, the James River Association and Henrico County Parks and Recreation are teaming up to establish a new site in Eastern Henrico.

The James River Association negotiated the deal with VDOT to procure official access to the area located just east of I-295 on North Airport Road in Sandston. The site includes a park-and-ride commuter lot bordering the Chickahominy River and has been an unofficial launch site used by paddlers for years. > Read more.

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Entertainment

Is there an Echo in here?

‘Earth to Echo’ aims to become this generation’s ‘ET’
It’s no secret that all found-footage genre movies are the same. Grab a couple of characters, give one of them a camera, and expose them to something supernatural that’s content to lurk just off-screen until the last five minutes. Everything else will just fall into place.

But that formula isn’t particularly family friendly, if only because that thing waiting a few feet to the left of the cast is usually plotting their violent doom.

That’s what sets Earth to Echo apart from the pack. It, too, follows a group of characters armed with a camera and a tendency to encounter unknown life forms. But all those familiar parts have been rearranged just enough to make it suitable for a much younger audience. > Read more.

Weekend Top 10


An eclectic array of events are taking place this weekend throughout the county. In the West End, we have the Richmond Wedding Expo, the Under the Stars Family Film Series and Henrico Theatre Company’s production of “Pump Boys and Dinettes.” In the eastern part of the county, we have a blood drive at the Eastern Henrico Recreation Center, Gallmeyer Farm’s annual Sweet Corn Festival and an origami workshop at Fairfield Library. For all our top picks this weekend, click here! > Read more.

New Italian restaurant opens in Short Pump

Charlottesville's Bella’s Restaurant recently opened a location in Short Pump Village, at 11408 West Broad Street. The restaurant is owned by Valeria Biesnti, a native of Rome who arrived in the U.S. at age 21 and later became a U.S. citizen. With her restaurants, Bisenti has sought to create an ambiance that welcomes diners in a casual setting, like her favorites from her hometown. > Read more.

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Calendar

Innsbrook After Hours will present O.A.R. and Phillip Phillips, with Saints of Valory, at 5:30 p.m. at the Snagajob Innsbrook Pavilion. Gates open at 5 p.m. General admission is $21.… Full text

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