Mayor Orders New Location For Shooting Range

Following a heated community meeting at Cesar Batalla School last week, Mayor Bill Finch has rejected a planned indoor shooting range in the revamped West End police precinct. Finch announced Wednesday that the Police Department will explore other options for the proposed shooting range at the corner of State Street and Howard Avenue. Parents, represented by retired Superior Court Judge Carmen Lopez, vehemently opposed the shooting range so close to the school.

The mayor issued this statement:

“When the proposal was first presented, I had a lot of questions about the safety and security of this location all of which were addressed. At the outset, I instructed our Police Department to reach out to the West Side community to gather consensus early in the process. The police met with neighborhood stakeholders–residents and business owners–and received a lot of positive feedback about the project. Clearly, the police department should have reached out to parents sooner, and I will address that with the Chief.

“While I have been assured by construction experts and our police department that this would be the safest facility of its kind, and while I believe it would be a benefit to the neighborhood with an increased police presence; as a parent, I understand my fellow parents’ concerns about the safety of their children. After hearing such strong concerns from the parents, we have decided to seek alternate sites in the city for the indoor shooting range, and all potential new sites will be in non-residential areas away from school buildings.”

City Council members Denese Taylor-Moye and Jack Banta stated, “We want to thank Mayor Finch and the administration for listening to the concerns of the Cesar Batalla school parents and the residents of the 131st district, and we support his decision to move the shooting range to a different location in the City.”

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16 comments

  1. I really don’t understand the big deal, as long as the range is in an enclosed, bulletproof and soundproof building. I would welcome the police presence, it’s no different than criminals doing community service at the North Ave jail across from a high school.

  2. Positive feedback? How about 375 Main St.? One incident … only one incident will end all downtown development. Honestly, let’s take our heads out of our asses. Looking for another site for the shooting range makes sense. I’d like to see if the Patrons of Ralph and Rich’s think 375 Main St. is a good idea. I think Mayor Finch needs to take over the conversation of the relocation of Marine Village to 375 Main St. Having an endorsement from the current development director running for office in Stamford is going to give your next challenger all the ammunition they need to find your replacement.

    1. Follow the Money, thanks for the article. It is actually an insult to Mayor Finch and Bridgeport regarding his comments on Stamford. AT least Nancy Hadley moved to the heart of the City to show her support for Bridgeport’s revitalization. This is sad and insulting. Mayor Finch, this is another bad choice representing you and the City. Adam Wood, you are not protecting your man from these stupid situations.

      1. I wonder if the planning and development department even support Kooris in their daily endeavors or is he just collecting a paycheck and they are waiting for his departure.

        1. How does a guy like Kooris expect to not have a conflict? I’m sure he’s a smart guy, but I mean, c’mon. The Finch administration is so sad they can’t see this as a conflict–even if it may not be a technical conflict, the appearance is bad. Kooris, if he wins in Stamford, should step down from his job in Bridgeport. If you worked for Pepsi and got a job on the board at Coca Cola, wouldn’t that be a problem? How is this different?

  3. *** Good decision for all really concerned in the long run! However, still don’t know how those who represent this area, 130th and 131st districts felt on the subject or if they intervened at all? *** Voters never know what they’re doing on anything anymore! ***

  4. Do you get the sense that City decisions are slipping from the Mayor’s hands these days?
    If you don’t, let me explain my view:
    A Mayor has many opportunities to explain his actions (if not his orders) in multiple ways and at multiple times. The police gun range project has been under study for three to four years it has been explained to us, yet it has not recently appeared in the Mayor’s Annual preamble (State of the City) that is part of his budget delivery. Is that strange? Or does he recognize how few people look to his words for honest and complete info?

    Regarding City planning for what arrives in our neighborhoods, there are a number of locally focused Neighborhood Revitalization Zones operating in the City previous to his time in office. He was particularly attentive in his last election run to the operation and opinions of those entities. Leadership by stakeholders of those local NRZs meet monthly with OPED staff throughout the year. Last month was the first time the South End and the West End admitted to hearing about the West End facility. Could the City have gotten a better result by surfacing this evolving project early and often to promote any and all positive aspects of the gun range? Sure they could have. Why did they ignore this local option?

    Finally, if you put the words “guns” and “schools” in the same sentence, do you need a lie detector machine to provide a reading as to public sensitivity? Perhaps you do because this is where the City has been particularly tone deaf. With so much attention to school security since the Newtown tragedy and with BOE attention to these issues (with funds flowing to finish technical fixes in the schools), was the subject run by the BOE, the Superintendent’s office or with any local schools?

    Frankly, the availability of Federal funds, even if you have to take four years of pursuit, is too much temptation for the Finch Gang. Has anybody seen a cost analysis of such a facility? Does the Police Commission have jurisdiction in this area? If not them, then who? What would it do to the current police budget that has already for several years exceeded its appropriations? What numbers did the Office of Policy Management prepare? Because of our City experience with “brownfields” and toxic contamination and our focus on GREEN initiatives, what routine expense was included for ongoing cleanup? How do we “get the lead out?” Is there something so special about the offered property that has not been publicly explained?

    Assuming such cost analysis is positive or neutral (including the green environmental concern of removing lead from the fired rounds from the air and the building itself), perhaps the range might get located in the parking garage under Morton City Hall.
    * No safety issues we are told. And there are only adults in the Annex, right?
    * More police in the downtown area will provide a sense of public security, right?
    * Soundproofing will take care of all noise issues we are told.
    Displacing a few cars that have to find a new location downtown should not be a deal breaker either. Downtown plans have emphasized the adequacy of parking spaces in the “teardrop.” Of course, if it is parked there today, a new home for the “armored personnel carrier” purchased three years ago with Federal funds of $245,000 may need to be found.

    If the Morton Center is not large enough, perhaps the public ought to have a look at the plans, the operating budget and the timeline before another site is chosen? Time will tell.

  5. I read in today’s paper the police were worried about travel to out-of-town ranges and the amount of OT that is spent. What bullshit, most cops live out of town and I never met one who did not like OT. That being said there are areas where the range could be built. The old dog pound could be used, plenty of land there. How about the site where public facilities is located. Pleasure Beach, they can take the ferry out to the island. How about the area where the horses are kept? How about the seven-acre park on Knowlton street no one uses? How about Rodgers Park on Frenchtown and Old Town. Just a few locations.

    1. Andrew,
      The mayor is going to rent property from a Machine groupie. My money is on DiNardo’s building on Railroad Ave. However I’m sure there are other contenders. I feel Finch will be back to painting houses very soon. He’s buried his political future.

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