Allen County Council members gave Sheriff Ken Fries the go-ahead Thursday to buy 193 acres – once part of a hazardous waste landfill – for a proposed training center and shooting range on Adams Center Road.
The county commissioners had entered into a purchase agreement to buy the property for about $675,000, but officials needed the council’s approval to spend the money. Fries said the property will likely cost no more than $650,000.
The commissioners offered to contribute $375,000 of that amount from a cumulative capital development fund, and the sheriff would provide the remaining $200,000 out of a commissary account fueled by inmates at the Allen County Jail.
The council, at Fries’ request, agreed to contribute $75,000 for the project out of the county’s general fund. Fries said user fees would help pay back that money.
Council approved the purchase and Fries promised never to ask for taxpayer money again for the training center.
Fries hopes to close on the property in the next two weeks, he said. He also hopes to work out a contract with a company that will seek out corporate grants to help pay for construction.
The shooting range will likely be the first portion of the center to be built because it will be the cheapest to construct. The center will likely be built in phases because of the cost, Fries said.
Sheriff Fries deserves a lot of credit for getting the ball rolling on this proposal and the commissioners and council should be commended for supporting him. I hope the Sheriff can get the necessary grants needed to make this project a reality. It's quite refreshing to see a local official trying to do everything he can to push for new projects within the city without resorting to the property tax crutch...