Commission Makes Donation to Club
The Pine Grove Community Sportsman’s Club will be able to start on some much-needed improvements, including a pistol range, thanks to the help of the Wetzel County Commission.
Through their monetary assistance to the club’s pistol range, the commission has helped to ensure that local law enforcement stay up-to-date on some of their necessary training.
Donald Kinkade, Terry Adams and Don Martin, all of the club, were on hand Tuesday morning to initiate the request. In a packet of information given to each of the commissioners, a letter was included from Timothy McDiffitt, the club’s president. McDiffitt noted that the club has been “an integral part of our end of the county. McDiffitt stated that the club originated in February 1936 in an old house that was restored by area men and their family. “Men have volunteered their time to build the club, and for years, they planted 2500 Christmas trees per year which grew into a profitable business.” McDiffitt noted that the days for live Christmas trees have been replaced with artificial trees so the club now sponsors a monthly fish fry for their source of income.
McDiffitt noted that over the year, ponds have been built and stocked with trout and other fish to allow fishing entertainment, such as fishing derby days for children. Furthermore, an archery and gun range was added to the facility in 1981. Currently, the rifle range is the most used, and local law enforcement uses the range for monthly qualifying practices.
McDiffitt noted that currently several repairs and upgrades are needed to the club and its property to obtain the quality “and safety necessary for changing times.” The necessary upgrades include the following: french drains need installed, sloping and grading for proper drainage; stone for pistol range; shelter to cover the shooting range; concrete pad and sidewalk from the parking area to cement pad to make handicap accessible, and survey of the property to insure boundaries.
Terry Adams, speaking Tuesday morning on behalf of the Sportsman’s Club, noted that the survey was not necessary but would be good for Forestry Land Judging to know where the boundaries are. Without the survey, the cost of the upgrades to the Sportsman’s Club would be $17,406.
Adams included estimates for each part of the project. This included an estimate to repair the French drain, as well as stone for the pistol range, drain ditching and digging out hillside for the pistol range, grade and slope premises for proper drainage, and moving equipment to and from the location. An additional estimate included a carport, as well as a vertical roof system. The third estimate included the cost for a concrete pad for a new shooting shelter, as well as a sidewalk going from the parking lot to the shelter.
Adams noted that the Sportsman’s Club sent letters out to around 20 area gas companies, with donations only coming from two gas companies: Drilling Appalachian Corporation Energy and Peoples Natural Gas. The National Wild Turkey Federation also donated toward the cause.
The Sportsman’s Club is for everyone, according to Adams. The cost for a yearly membership is $15 per person, $25 for the whole family. Adams noted that than an individual with a family membership could take five to six family members to the facility with them, with no additional charge. Furthermore, any law enforcement officer, local or state, can enter free of charge. Non-profit programs such as Hunter Safety courses do not have to pay to use the facilities. Those who do host for profit programs only have to pay a small fee, ranging from $25 for use of the pond, to $100 for the whole day for use of the whole building. Adams noted that the club was the “cheapest Sportsman’s Club in the state of West Virginia.”
Commissioner Donald Mason made the motion to contribute $17,406 to the building of the pistol range, emphasizing that this range would help deputies in the county, as they have had problems having a place for their twice-yearly firearm qualifying. He stated that the construction of the pistol range could be for any law enforcement training, local or state.
Adams noted that the Sportsman’s Club “deeply appreciates” the commission’s support.