Griswold voters make it clear they don't want firearms training - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Griswold voters make it clear they don't want firearms training facility

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State police say their gun range in Simsbury is in serious disrepair. (WFSB file photo) State police say their gun range in Simsbury is in serious disrepair. (WFSB file photo)
GRISWOLD, CT (WFSB) -

A bitter battle between a small town and efforts for a state police gun range continues to heat up.

Griswold voters made it clear on Wednesday they are against a proposed state police firearms training facility in town, through a town vote.

Those against it are concerned about noise and congestion; however, the legal battle adds another element over the possible environmental impact the facility could have.

"There would be no more hiking, no more biking, no more hunting, no more horseback riding, all that would be taken away, and that's all Griswold has," said Darlene Zuraw, of Griswold. 

Currently, state police shoot year-round at a range in Simsbury. The problem, troopers said, is that the nearly 70-year-old facility not only floods, but has cramped offices and both firing decks cannot be used at the same time for safety reasons.

For years, state police have been trying to find a new home for firearms training.

They've been running into anti-range sentiment.

Opposition signs were put up all over Griswold. They were posted by people with no appetite for a range.

Some said they feel the piercing pops of bullets will ruin the quiet corner they’ve grown to love and add construction disruption and congestion.

People Griswold, and several other towns who’ve defeated the idea, continue to be strongly against it.

The state’s plan is to obtain a privately-owned 113 acre parcel on Lee Road. If approved, it will build a 55,000 square foot multi-use training center.

Selectman Kevin Skulczyck said if the voters strongly reject the plan, the board will ask the state to move the project somewhere else.

"We're frustrated in politicians that mislead the public and so transparency is important and the fact is, at the end of day, you should work for the people and that's what we're gonna be doing here," Skulczyck said.

After the votes were counted, it was pretty clear how the majority of the people in Griswold feel about the idea.

The total number of votes cast was 500 votes. There were 437 "No" votes, and just 63 "Yes" votes.

"Clearly the folks that cared enough to come out were heard tonight, and overwhelmingly I support their decision," Skulczyck said on Wednesday night.

Although Wednesday's vote is not binding, it shows the Board of Selectmen where their constituents stand.

He plans to draft a resolution against the proposal and ask the state to reconsider.

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