CLAY COUNTY, Fla — There’s a cut of northeast Florida getting a touch of the wild west.
In a clearing off CR-215, in Middleburg, you won’t find smoke in the sky, but lots of land for open fire. 158 acres of it, to be precise.
Clay County officials just cut the ribbon on its new Outdoor Adventure Park, which, right now, houses a 200-yard outdoor shooting range.
“It’s the county’s only outdoor gun range, open to both the public and law enforcement training,” says county commissioner Betsy Condon.
Condon adds the property is starting out as a gun range, but the county’s pitched possibilities for a lot more to take up the space.
Those include options like:
- An archery field
- Paintball courses
- ATV trails
But the new space soon-to-be open for families is marking a place to honor one, in particular. The road the complex sits on is the namesake of a fallen local Army veteran, Sergeant Bradley Crose.
“[Losing him] is a nightmare. It’s my worst nightmare,” says Sheila Russell, Crose’s mother.
It’s been more than 21 years since Russell lost her son. Crose was killed in 2002 while serving his country in Afghanistan. The range in Middleburg sits on what is now Sergeant Bradley Close Road, a label with his legacy.
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Russell says her son always wanted a shooting range close to home.
“He wouldn’t have liked all the attention,” Russell says, laughing, thinking of her son’s humble nature, “but he would have loved this.”
As the park changes in the coming months, Russell and county officials hope its salute to service members will stay the same.
“We need to take every opportunity to thank all of our veterans, but especially families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Condon says.
There’s an open house for the gun range set for tomorrow, September 30th, from 10:00-2:00. The range will open on October 7th.
To see ticket pricing and hours once the range opens, click here.