Niles company chosen for YARS firing range update

VIENNA – A Niles company has been awarded a $7.88 million contract to upgrade the indoor firing range at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, confirmed Friday that Mike Coates Construction Co. received the construction contract that will be paid through the 2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill.

Ryan said the firing range will provide the training reservists need to “remain combat-ready and complete their missions safely.”

“Each and every day, the men and women stationed at the air base sacrifice for our safety, and it is our job to give them the resources they need to succeed,” Ryan said.

The indoor firing range will be used to train and test airmen for qualifications with their service weapons for personal protection and ground base defense. The current range is 30 years old and fails to meet current safety requirements, officials said. They said the upgrade will correct serious deficiencies at the facility and improve the training that occurs at YARS.

“We look forward to building this state-of-the-art range at YARS and the capability it will bring to strengthen our relationships with our community law enforcement partners,” said Col. James Dignan, commander of the 910th Airlift Wing at YARS.

Local legislators also sought funding for a modified rifle firing range at Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center. The range would provide 16 lanes of stationary targets at a distance as far as 300 meters. The targets would pop up for a period of time and then drop if not hit with a shot, and the program allows for multiple targets to pop up simultaneously for weapons qualification.

The firing range at Camp Ravenna is the second of its kind in Ohio. The other is at Camp Perry near Port Clinton.

Army Reservists broke ground on the rifle range in August with a live-fire exercise at a new training area.

The rifle range allows soldiers to train as part of their required yearly qualifications. The project was funded with $3.3 million the camp received.