The PSSA was informed yesterday by Rep. Kurt Masser that it be receiving a $1,000,000 grant through the Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. The grant will be used to construct a Sporting Clays course and various improvements to the Pennsylvania State Shotgunning Association Homegrounds. We would like to thank our sponsors: Pa. State Senator John Gordner and Pa. State Representative Kurt Masser for their continuing support of this project. We would also like to thank Michael Schuler, Skip Klinger, Tom Burkey, Paul Perlstein and Aspire LLC for their work, and last but not least, the Executive Committee of the PSSA. We are extremely excited for the future of the PSSA and what this grant will provide.
BY HAROLD RAKER
FOR THE NEWS-ITEM
ELYSBURG – In a year when a worldwide pandemic has affected virtually everyone on the planet, good news has tended to be scarcer than hen’s teeth.
Yet two days before Christmas, an unexpected phone call to Ken Darroch gave the Aliquippa resident a million reasons to smile.
On the other end of the phone was State Rep. Kurt A. Masser, R-107, whose district includes the grounds of the Pennsylvania State Shotgunning Association, part of the Valley Gun and Country Club.
Masser told Darroch, the first-year president of the PSSA that the organization was approved for a $1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grand to assist in the proposed expansion of the facilities in Elysburg to include a new sporting clays shooting range.
“It was very unexpected,” Darroch said when reached by phone Wednesday night. “We got what we asked for, very surprisingly. I didn’t think we would get anything, honestly.”
Darroch had good reason. The PSSA’s initial grant request last year was not approved, and the association was told that no more money would be allocated in 2019.
Darroch said he had since learned that $300 million had been awarded to just 43 percent of the 490 organizations which applied for the funds.
Although the original proposed project has been scaled down from its original form, Darroch said the grant will allow the organization to do the first phase of the planned six-phase project and it will be done in small steps.
“We will see how successful it is and we’ll build on it,” he said. “If we get the funds, we will make improvements. That’s the way it’s been done for 100 years.”
He said, “A million dollars will help us build a sporting clays course and do some improvements to the grounds and the club house, but (the project) will not be on the scale that it was originally proposed.”
He said it would start with building a road (more specially a cart path) for the shooting clays course. Although a timetable for the project will depend upon the time it takes to complete the process necessary to ultimately get the money, it would be possible for construction to begin in late spring or early summer.
He said that four companies had already submitted bids for the work before the grant fell through.
If all goes well, Darroch said, “I think we could be shooting on it this year.”
Darroch explained that all the trap machines for sporting clays run off car batteries so no wiring is required, and there is no plumbing work involved.
The club’s grounds, off Route 487 in Ralpho Township, hosts several major shoots every year on its 215 acres, most significantly the Pennsylvania State Trapshoot which attracts competitors from numerous eastern states and even other countries. The shoot runs over 11 days.
The award of the grant from the Northumberland County Industrial Authority through RACP, came in a joint announcement from State Sen. John R. Gordner, R-27, Berwick, and Masser.
“This is a great project that will add many jobs and infuse millions of dollars into our local economy,” Gordner said in a statement.
Add Masser in a statement, “Upon completion, this will be a destination facility. PSSA will have the capability of hosting year-round events and national tournaments.”