Friday, August 17, 2007

Sheriff Fries Gets County Council Approval for Shooting Range

The JG reports that the county council approved the necessary spending to buy the land needed for the shooting range:
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...


John B. Kalb said...

Jeff - Amen to that -I was at the meeting yesterday AM - Fries sure strikes me as a very knowledgable person - and really active in doing a good job. John B. Kalb

otto said...

Why am I not surprised that this got funded? The city or county can't fund a bus line to the relocated SS office, but can shell out money for this. Guess what the difference is between the number of people affected and who most needs that expenditure?


I think this is a reasonable amount of money to fund something that will be very useful, however I have one major reservation about the project. Some residents have spoken about fears of their children having to dodge bullets while playing outside. Granted, they gave no evidence that this likely would occur, and were very possibly worried about something that will never happen. But I found it interesting that no one met their questions with a resounding "We will build this site in a manner so that there are no stray bullets."

Jeff Pruitt said...


It's my understanding that all the residents who presented initial objections to the project withdrew them because they felt they could work with the developer to alleviate their concerns...

otto said...

More pointless worry about "your" children. Cops know how to shoot into an embankment behind a target, unless they are drunk. If that is only thought generated by this, we are in sad shape.

John B. Kalb said...

fwpolitics - I assume you were not at the county council meeting since your comment about "design shooting range to avoid ..." did come up. Mr. Fries replied that the layout of this site was already "designed" to prevent stray rounds - They will be shooting into a bank that is basically underground. John B. Kalb


Reply to Jeff and John:
I have not followed this issue closely. I just happened to come across the televised coverage where these residents were voicing their concerns, and I thought they sounded worthy of considering. Apparantly though they have been given due consideration and are not a problem now. Thanks for the useful feedback, that's why I like this forum.

Reply to Otto:
My concern was not whether the officers are drunk or poor shots, but rather that the range would be designed properly so that stray shots which might occur (for whatever reasons) do not adversely affect the neighbors.
I do not think worrying about children is pointless. Of course questions about costs and ability to monitor the programs are relevant factors to consider, simply dismissing them by framing them as pointless "worry about your children" programs is not fair.