Residents against proposed firing range in Willington - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Residents against proposed firing range in Willington

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Signs up were posted all over Willington opposing moving the CT State Police firing range to town. (WFSB) Signs up were posted all over Willington opposing moving the CT State Police firing range to town. (WFSB)
The meeting on Thursday night will discuss the proposed gun range in Willington. (WFSB) The meeting on Thursday night will discuss the proposed gun range in Willington. (WFSB)
WILLINGTON, CT (WFSB) -

The saga to move the state police gun range from its current home in Simsbury to another location in the state continues.

On Thursday night, residents in Willington had the chance to speak out about a proposal to put the range in their town.

More than 100 neighbors attended the meeting, saying they didn't want the range in their backyards.

"This is a peaceful town," said resident Joy Wrona. "If a gun range comes into town it will change our quality of life."

"We don't want to see our town turned into a combat zone,"  Donald Parizek, a Willington resident, said. 

Parizek's family has lived in the rural town of Willington for more than 10 years. He owns a small Christmas tree farm off Route 320 right next to where Connecticut is proposing to move the state police gun range. 

"The last thing they want to hear is gunfire going off when they're trying to pick out the family Christmas tree," Parizek said 

Parizek put up a large sign on his property, and has been collecting signatures with his neighbors to petition to stop the proposal.  

"I'm not opposed to guns. I'm a gun owner and hunter myself," Parizek said. "I just think this is a horrible place to situate a gun range of this magnitude." 

The state has been working to move from their current gun range in Simsbury, for years. The site constantly floods, and officials said in the past, just one incident cost them $400,000 to clean up.

"The range in Simsbury just isn't really fitting the bill. We've had a lot of historical water problems there," said State Police Sgt. Shane Hassett.

After a proposed move to Glastonbury failed, the current plan involves parcels of land in either East Windsor or Willington. 

The babbling brook cuts right through the land in question. It would include a 55,000-square-foot training building for classrooms and training, 125 parking spaces plus a pistol range, two different rifle ranges and an active shooter training range.   

"We haven't heard all the details yet on how they would be able to control the noise, but the thought is that there would be some noise and a lot of noise all day long," Willington First Selectwoman Christina Mailhos said. "So what I'm hoping to hear is there would be ways they would be able to mitigate that."

The first selectwoman and residents told Eyewitness News their main concerns were the noise, traffic, the possibility for pollution in the brook, and dangers of stray bullets. They're hoping they can get those questions answered on Thursday night.

"I want a law enforcement officer that can hit what he's shooting at accurately, consistently," Ralph Tulis, a Willington resident, said. "So the training facility is very important to them, and I understand that. I support that, but tell us what the real story is, so we can decide whether or not it's appropriate for our town."

No decisions were made on Thursday evening, and the concerns raised will be addressed in an environmental impact study.

People will be able to submit written comments to the state until June 4. 

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