Split Vote Expected On County Commission On Extra Money For Firing Range

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A split vote is expected on the County Commission next Wednesday on whether the county should come up with an additional $550,000 for a joint city-county firing range on E. 11th Street.

Commissioners Joe Graham and Tim Boyd voiced a number of concerns about the unexpected $550,000 request to the county.

Commissioner Graham said, "We've got the cart in front of the horse so far that the horse can't catch up." He said an earlier commitment for the city and county to put in $1.5 million each to go with $1 million in federal funds was made before firm cost figures were known.

He also objected to the fact that part of the building has a flat roof.

Commissioner Graham said it was time "to put the brakes on this."

Commissioner Boyd said the site selected at the old Farmers Market was free, but came with numerous problems because it was a former dump. He said, "If the city wants to do something with that property, then let Yusuf (City Council chairman Hakeem) do it. There has to be a better place to put this firing range."

He said the site preparation cost, including tearing down an existing building, is well over $1 million.

Commissioner Boyd said, "We need to value engineer this big time."

He noted that over half the project is training rooms. He said local police departments are handling training just fine now

However, other county officials said sheriff training "is in a mobile home with a bathroom."

Commissioner Fred Skillern, joining others in saying the firing range needs to be built, said, "I think we've dug ourselves into a hole so deep we won't see sunlight on July 4th."

Commissioner Greg Beck said he supports the new request, saying that knowledge of handling a gun is essential to police officers.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said he is hopeful the new higher cost estimate can be whittled down, but he said it is still a much better deal than the county going it alone on a firing range.

He said, "I think the public expects us to do this. It would be a tragedy if the county went on its own and had to pay $4 million of $5 million later."   

The county mayor said the project started under a prior city administration.

Matthew Twitchella project manager for Franklin Architects, agreed it would have been better to have had firmer cost figures before the governments made commitments.

He said the new cost estimates were made after three construction firms were asked to review the project.

He said the firing range part has 12,154 square feet and the training area 12,333 square feet. 




2 Walker County Deputies Suspended Pending Investigation

Two Walker County deputies have been placed on administrative leave with pay after allegations arose  Saturday  night that a female was assaulted by the two off-duty deputies at a Fort Oglethorpe apartment, according to Walker County Sheriff Steve Wilson. One of the men and the alleged female accuser were in a consensual relationship. The accuser has told authorities ... (click for more)

Haslam Appoints David Rausch As Director Of TBI

Governor Bill Haslam on Monday announced the appointment of David B. Rausch as director of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI).   Mr. Rausch, 55, has served as chief of police for the Knoxville Police Department (KPD) since 2011, overseeing an agency of more than 500 employees, including some 400 sworn police officers. He joined the KPD in 1993 and rose through ... (click for more)

Will Chattanooga Miss Another Reinvestment Opportunity?

In April, First Tennessee Bank and the National Community Reinvestment Coalition announced an agreement on a $3.9 billion reinvestment plan for economic development in low to moderate income communities under the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act. The Chattanooga Times Free Press soon followed with an article reviewing the plan in depth. The plan presented Chattanooga, as well as ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Are We Like Nazis?

Four years after William Styron’s best-seller ‘Sophie’s Choice,’ had achieved the highest height of an atrocity that the literary world had known at the time, a little girl who was birthed the same year as the book (1979) was cast as Meryl Streep’s daughter in the movie. The four-year-old blonde knew nothing about evil, not to mention the Holocaust, but she became enamored with ... (click for more)

Lookouts Break Out Their Bats In Saturday's Rain Shortened Game Beating Barons, 12-2

Birmingham AL --  On a wet night at Regions Field, the Birmingham Barons (32-36) fell to the Chattanooga Lookouts (36-33) by a 12-2 score on Saturday night in a rain-shortened contest. The Birmingham loss evens up the five-game series at two games each with one game to play in the first half. Rain and the Lookouts were the winners on Saturday night in Birmingham as the ... (click for more)

CFC Wins 2-0 At Inter Nashville FC

Chattanooga FC remained undefeated in NPSL play Wednesday night, beating Inter Nashville FC 2-0 in Nashville.   David Valenciano had CFC's first goal late in the first half.  Jose "Zeca" Ferraz scored the second goal minutes before the final whistle.  This is the fourth road game in the last two weeks and they play their final rode game at New ... (click for more)