A Schenectady-based law enforcement academy could soon have its own firing range nearby if an environmental review goes according to plan and the Glenville Town Board approves the project.
The training range, which would chiefly serve the needs of the Zone 5 Training Academy and Glenville police, would be located on Glenville-owned land near the terminus of Interstate 890 north of Barhydt Road and east of Wagner Road.
An independent nonprofit group, the Schenectady Homeland Security and Public Safety Consortium, has spent the good part of a decade trying to build a new training facility for upstate counties and, according to Chairperson David Hennessy, is hoping Glenville officials agree the range is a good fit for the town.
Glenville town Supervisor Chris Koetzle on Friday said the town is beginning a state-mandated environmental review of the proposed range to examine the noise and other impacts to nearby residents.
“I think it is a good thing for the town and good thing for law enforcement in the area.” Koetzle said. “First, we want to make sure it fits into the area and will not be a problem for residents.”
The town’s review will focus on the level of sound that would emanate from the firing range and what, if any, impact it would have on nearby homes and businesses. Koetzle said the environmental impacts would likely be limited, because construction would require little disturbance.
Hennessy said an earlier sound test recorded gunshot decibel levels similar to the level of a passing truck on nearby Route 5.
The site of the range would be on 3.5 acres of a 70-acre-plus property owned by Glenville. The property once served as a municipal landfill, which was covered and retired in the early 1990s. Hennessy said the previous owner of the property has said it was used as a gun range before its life as a landfill.
Construction of the proposed range would be funded with a $1.1 million state grant secured with the help of state Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Niskayuna. The plans call for two pistol ranges, a rifle range and a shotgun range, Hennessy said. Each range would have a capacity of 20 shooters, but Hennessy said it was unlikely the facility would be used that much.
The Zone 5 Academy and Glenville would have free and priority access to the range. Other state and federal agencies would have low-cost access, Hennessy said, and private businesses that have armed personnel who need training would help defray the annual operating costs.
“The whole purpose of this project is to assist law enforcement to function safely when it comes to the use of firearms,” Hennessy said.
Rocco Fragomeni, the Zone 5 Academy director, said a new range would “absolutely” benefit the organization, which each year trains hundreds of new and in-line officers from 10 counties. He said the academy would use the range for 12 weeks each year.
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