Fight over State Police gun range in Griswold continues

Hearing for State Police gun range

Opposition to a proposed gun range in CT has residents fired up.

State police want to build a facility near the Pachaug State Forest, but there are concerns about noise and cost.

There will be a meeting at Griswold High School on Tuesday night and residents want to be heard.

They gathered outside to protest the proposed gun range.

Many have been fighting this range and are hoping to stop it from being built in their town.

"We have several people who have moved to this area because they want the peace and quiet,” said Pam Patalano.

Patalano is part of a group of people fighting a proposed gun range in Griswold.

A majority of residents voted against a State Police gun range, but plans are still in the works.

The range would be off a dirt road, right next to the Pachaug State Forest.

It’s being used as farmland and the closest house is about half a mile away, but people in town are concerned about noise and the gun range would be used for all law enforcement, not just the state police.

"You're sitting there in this beautiful serene area and you hear gunshots and a lot of gunshots. The quality of life and forest animal life will be disturbed,” said Patalano.

This year, they brought their fight to the state capitol, urging lawmakers to find another site.

"That is available at Simsbury but again because of the flooding it is increasingly difficult and limiting for that purpose,” said Dora Schiro, Emergency Services and Public Protection Commissioner.

Schiro says State Police need a new range to replace the one in Simsbury which has flooding issues.

Senator Heather Somers represents this district and she has many issues with the cost of a new range.

She says it could cost more than $25 million and she'd rather see on existing range in East Haven be updated.

"That range is available 222 days a year. It may not have exactly everything the state police want, but we certainly could look to upgrading that to include things state police say are missing,” said Somers.

Somers says the East Haven range recently got a $15 million upgrade.

At the Tuesday night meeting, State Police tried to convince the public that the project is vitally important.

Lieutenant Mar Petruzzi claims their current range in Simsbury is too small and has flooding issues.

"This is a crucial facility for the Connecticut State Police to make sure we have the training that we need today and tomorrow," said Petruzzi.

State Police said even if everything goes perfectly from their perspective, the project would take years to complete, which means the fight is likely far from finished.

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