State police test out site of proposed gun range

State police want to put a gun range near the Pachaug State Forest. (WFSB)

Gunshots rang out in Griswold on Wednesday as part of a noise test for a proposed Connecticut State Police training facility.

The exercise happened at the site that's near the Pachaug State Forest in Griswold.

Troopers said it was part of a required noise test to see how a range might affect residents, however many neighbors have spoken out against it.

Legislation to block the range failed at the state capitol last month.

"I've lived in Griswold my whole life, I've been traveling in and out of the forest since I was a little fella, since I was about 6, and we really feel like it's an invasion of our peace and quiet in this area," said Stan Kobelski, of Griswold.

On Wednesday, 15 state troopers fired off rounds from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. as part of the environmental impact evaluation.

"They are using the firearms that are Connecticut State Police use. It's a 45 caliber handgun, there's a 12 gauge shotgun, there's a .223 rifle semi automatic rifle, and a .308 rifle," said Jeff Beckham, spokesman for the Dept. of Administrative Services.

The test was to continue the project for a training facility announced in March.

The state had signed an agreement to purchase the 100-plus acres on Lee Road for about $1 million last summer.

"This is a calibration test, so our sound engineers can record sound at this site with the firearms,” Beckham said.

Microphones were set up 360 degrees around the site to gauge the sound of gunfire.

"We've got some a quarter mile, half mile, some at one mile, and then at two miles,” Beckham said.

State Senator Heather Somers said the range would cost at least $25 million and 80 percent of Griswold homeowners voted against it in a referendum.

''They have no desire to listen to the people of Connecticut or listen to the residents of Griswold. We have been fighting this for two and a half years,” said Pam Patalano, of Griswold.

State police claim the current range in Simsbury is too small and has flooding issues, and the National Guard range in East Haven isn't equipped for state police training."If we do a full buildout it a training building, a classroom building, about 55,000 square feet is the full build out,” Beckham said.

Despite being loud themselves and posting signs displaying their disdain for the project, some longtime residents feel they may not have many more options.

"Now the plan is if the noise is excessive we are going to sell our home and move,” said Thomas Gaudreau.

Beckham said this test doesn't account for all the sound proofing materials that would be used.

However, residents say with leaves off the trees for half of the year, it won't make much of a difference.

Copyright 2018 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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