Neighbors Weigh in on New Police Shooting Range in Albemarle
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va (WVIR) -
After controversy over a new police shooting range, things may be moving ahead now that county leaders believe they have found an ideal site. But as the county begins to lay out its plans for the new facility, some major concerns are surfacing.
If everything goes as planned, construction on the new facility could be well underway by this time next year. But at a community meeting Thursday night, those who live near the site said they’re still worried about a few things.
Patty Culbertson lives right across from what will soon be the new firearms training facility.
“Gut reaction is I don't want it,” she said.
The facility along Milton Road will allow Charlottesville, Albemarle and the University of Virginia's police departments to train together.
"Whether it’s here or it’s someplace else, this project is important to helping us not only achieve our goals as public safety chiefs but safeguarding the rights of people in this community,” said Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo.
But Culbertson and her neighbors have some concerns - for instance, excess noise and the fear that the range may affect the value of their homes.
"I feel like it will affect the value of my home. I don't think everyone is going to want to live across from a regional firearms center. I think some people might think that's cool, others will not," Culbertson said.
But one neighbor, Bonnie Brewer, says she doesn't necessarily want it in her backyard either, but that it’s really a matter of supporting the police.
“I think really we have to consider the public safety issue. We do not want our officers going to Harrisonburg to train and be out of town,” Brewer said.
The shooting range comes with a $4 million to $5 million price tag, with nearly $3 million covered by a state grant.
A formal design and other details have not yet been hashed out, because the county wants people to understand what the project is about first.
“It hasn't convinced me that I want it across the street from me but it has convinced me that it's necessary,” Culbertson said.
While the Board of Supervisors gave the green light for the actual site, how it is run will ultimately be up to the three police chiefs.
There will be another community meeting on the topic July 17.
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