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Impact Of CPD Gun Range To Get Public Hearing Tuesday

A Cincinnati City Council committee is holding a public hearing Tuesday evening to discuss the police department's gun range in Evendale. 

The city has been using the site since the 1940s, when Evendale donated the land to Cincinnati for the gun range.

But now, residents and officials in Evendale and nearby Lincoln Heights and Woodlawn want the facility closed.

Evendale would like the property for economic development since it's adjacent to I-75 and across from the General Electric plant. Evendale Mayor Richard Finan said the land could be worth $100,000 per acre.

Other residents said they are tired of the almost daily sound of gunfire and the environmental impacts of the lead on the site from shooting.

Cincinnati Council Member Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney said the hearing Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at City Hall is to hear about the environmental issues, not to reach a final conclusion or solution.

"My understanding is that Lincoln Heights Council would like that gun range moved; of course that takes finding a location and finding funds, both of which some of us are committed to doing," Kearney said. "But the hearing is not for that, it's to really show the impacts so that everyone understands what's going on and how the gun range is impacting those communities."

On Sept. 24, the Hamilton County commissioners unanimously approved a resolution asking Cincinnati to close its gun range.

Commissioner Stephanie Summerow Dumas presented the resolution for the board's consideration.

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood; do you want to be my neighbor?" Summerow Dumas said. "And I'm sure for many years the answer was 'no' because of this gun range."

Lincoln Heights Mayor Ruby Kinsey-Mumphrey and Woodlawn Mayor Brian Poole spoke to the commission during that meeting expressing concerns and asking the gun range be closed.

Cincinnati officials have said they are not opposed to closing the Evendale gun range and selling the property.  But the city wants help finding a new location for it and money to construct a new facility.  That comes with a price of $5-9 million.

Mayor John Cranley said at a council meeting Sept. 16 that the purchase offer for the gun range site has been in Evendale's corner for a long time.

"I want it to be clear to everybody that we are more than willing to sell the gun range if Evendale is willing to move it," Cranley said. "And frankly, we'd be willing to move on price, but what we can't move on is having an alternative location that they help pay for and secure to protect our police department."

Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman said people who want the facility moved need to find the money to move it.

"The breakthrough that we need to have happen is the Evendale mayor to really put together, or any of the other mayors, put together that proposal financially and we're on board," Smitherman said.

Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus has proposed the county and the city work together to expand the county sheriff's department's gun range in Colerain Township. She said federal authorities could also use such a facility, and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown had indicated federal money may be available for such a project.

However, in a report, Cincinnati's interim city manager expressed concern about moving city police officers to the county range. The report indicated the county has been receiving noise complaints from nearby neighbors and adding city police to the site would only exacerbate the problem.

 

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