Police shooting range to reopen this summer

State gave city $500,000 grant to clean up lead contamination and rebuild site; city asking National Guard for help.

by Holly Schoenstein | reporter Published:

Tallmadge -- The Tallmadge Police Department's outdoor shooting range will reopen sometime this summer after being closed since last summer for maintenance and rebuilding.

Police officers use the range to take weapon qualification tests each year and for practice between tests.

According to Mayor Dave Kline, this is the first time the 50-year-old range that's in a corner of the former Tallmadge Asphalt Co. property on North Munroe Road has undergone a cleanup of lead contamination from bullets in the earth mounds.

The city now owns the land on which the range sits.

He said the lead contamination at the site wasn't hazardous because of its distance from other properties, but the city wanted to clean it up because of the possible environmental impact.

"Anytime there's lead contaminants in the ground it migrates down into the soils and the water aquifers. So it needed to be cleaned up," Kline said. "We wanted to be mindful of a good environment and that's why we did what we did."

The state of Ohio awarded the city a $500,000 grant for the project. Kline said the project probably wouldn't have been done for 20 or 30 years, if not for the grant. The grant required no cost share from the city, he said.

The cleanup of the range took about four weeks, and the rebuilding of the earth mounds will take another four. The city has spent $400,000 on the project so far and is looking for help to complete it without spending more than the $100,000 that's left, he said.

The city submitted an application to the Ohio Army National Guard for its help with the project and is expecting to receive a response within a couple of weeks.

"We're still going to do the shooting range, but if we get help from them, it really helps the finances part of it," he said. "We have to provide the fuel for their vehicles, and they will build the mounds."

The city's request is for the National Guard to provide free labor, which Kline estimated could save the city about $30,000.

"It's almost like a collaboration between us and the National Guard. They're training their workers to move earth, and we get a benefit," he said.

Kline said the remaining grant money definitely will be spent because materials need to be bought. If the National Guard doesn't participate, he said the city will use more than the balance of the grant, but he's not sure how much.

The rebuilding of the range will include installing sand-based traps that catch the bullets before they get into the ground and prevents the lead from seeping into the soil.

The traps also make for easier routine maintenance because the bullets can be filtered from them. Kline said the maintenance schedule could be anywhere from one to five years.

While the range has been closed, officers have been shooting at the Kent Police Department's off of Route 261 in Kent at no cost to the city of Tallmadge, Kline said.

Email: hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9428

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