City, County Pull The Plug On Downtown Shooting Range

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

City and county officials have decided to keep the police firing range at Moccasin Bend rather than building an expensive new indoor facility at the former Farmers Market property.

County Mayor Jim Coppinger said Sheriff Jim Hammond and new Police Chief Fred Fletcher met recently and decided to "pull the plug" on the project.

He said officers felt that the Moccasin Bend range would be more suitable to their needs and the new facility, which was launched during the administration of Mayor Ron Littlefield, would be inadequate.

The County Commission earlier approved spending $1.5 million on the indoor range, but none of that money was spent.

However, the city cleared some buildings at the site and paid an architect $250,000 to draw up plans.

One impetus for the project was so additional land could be added to the national archaeological site at historic Moccasin Bend.

County Mayor Coppinger said that may still happen, "but it will be a long, long way down the road."

He noted that the National Park Service had been unwilling to clean up the site, which would have been an expensive cost for the city and county.

City officials said, "$1.5 million was allocated in the city’s capital FY13/14 budget for construction of a new firing range and training facility to be located in downtown Chattanooga. The previous administration started the work and the city has spent approximately $250,000 on remediation, design, site prep and demolition of the 12th street site since that time.

"After months of review, the city and county found the cost of building a new training facility and range is estimated to be at least $1 million more than the previously anticipated $4 million cost (which would have been $3 million split between the city and county plus $1 million grant). On top of that, we heard time and again from our officers they preferred the existing training facility located at Moccasin Bend and Chattanooga Police Department leadership agreed officers could receive more comprehensive training at the current site."


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