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Albemarle Asks for Community Input in New Firing Range - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Albemarle Asks for Community Input in New Firing Range

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Albemarle County is preparing to kick off a campaign to get the community involved in planning a gun range for police training.

The regional public safety firearms training center will bring the county, the city of Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia together under one roof. Albemarle County supervisors are getting an update on the project Wednesday, at their first meeting of the new year. That begins the process to build the indoor firearms training facility on a new location.

The land, along Milton Road on the old UVA airport, is currently an outdoor shooting range for the university. Colonel Steve Sellers with Charlottesville police says the idea to build the facility at the new location came from a neighbor.

“He thought it would be a good opportunity to maybe shut down a noisy, outdoor range, enclose it, make it silent,” Sellers said.

Police hope more neighbors get involved in developing the site. The county expects to launch a public engagement plan with a community meeting in mid-April.

“It's very important to us that the public is engaged from the early point of this process in understanding exactly what the facility is all about,” said Albemarle County spokesperson Lee Catlin.

Albemarle County supervisors need to hire an architect to design the $4 million to $5 million facility. A state grant will cover $2.9 million of that cost.

“That is contingent on that partnership remaining intact and using the Milton site,” Catlin said.

The three police forces will proportionally share operating costs. Sellers says the new facility will allow officers from UVA, Charlottesville, and Albemarle to improve their coordinated response to major emergencies.

“Having UVA, city, and county training together is critical to public safety in this region,” Sellers said.

If supervisors give the go-ahead Wednesday to hire an architect, the firearms training facility could be open within 15 to 20 months.

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