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.”