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Glenville reaches agreement on police gun range

Glenville reaches agreement on police gun range

Town to improve fish and game club location where police now train
Glenville reaches agreement on police gun range
Niskayuna police officer Sgt. Joe Twitty fires at the Niskayuna Police Gun Range in 2014
Photographer: PETER R. BARBER/GAZETTE PHOTOGRAPHER

GLENVILLE -- The town has reached an agreement with a local fish and game club on a location for a police firing range, one town officials believe will eliminate conflicts they encountered when a different location closer to residential properties was proposed last year.

Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle said a proposed agreement to be considered by the Glenville Town Board on Wednesday would have the town enter a 15-year lease with the Glenville Fish & Game Club, off Johnson Road in West Glenville.

It's where the Glenville Police Department currently trains, but until now the training has had to work around the club's schedule and was at the club's discretion. The agreement allows the Police Department to set its own schedule for firearms training.

Because of the limitations and a desire by police for their own facility, the town last year proposed building a police gun range at the site of the former town landfill on Barhydt Road. That proposal, however, drew strong opposition from neighbors concerned about safety and noise, and the town tabled it.

Quiet negotiations with the private rod and gun club have been going on for months, with town officials refusing to identify the party.

Under the agreement, which the club's directors approved last week, the town will lease one acre of land at the club, which has 165 acres. The town will make about $35,000 in improvements, Koetzle said. There will be no annual lease payment, he said, but club members will be able to use the improvements when the police aren't practicing.

The town late last week sent letters to the club's neighbors explaining the plan. "We've sent a letter to the residents saying there will be absolutely no change for them," Koetzle said.

"This is really a win-win-win," Koetzle said. "The town gets the training facility it needs, the gun club gets improvements, and the residents on Barhydt Road don't have to worry."

The improvements the town will be making include construction of a shooting platform enclosed on three sides, excavation of and creation of a range designed for police weapons, construction of safety berms and privacy barriers, improvements to the access road and parking lot, and construction of a dedicated storage shed for police equipment. The town will also provide bathrooms, probably by renting a portage trailer, Koetzle said.

"It took a little more time, but it was important we give our police officers the facilities they need," Koetzle said.

He said the town hopes to have all the facilities ready for use by mid-summer.

The fish and game club would offer only a brief statement. "The Glenville Fish and Game Club is proud to serve the Glenville community by continuing to serve the needs of the Glenville Police Department," President Norm Perazzo said.

"Wow great news!" said Bill Bolton, one of the neighbors of the town landfill site, and an organizer of the Concerned Citizens of Glenville.

Bolton said he's close to a number of police officers, and the opposition to the landfill site wasn't about the police but about the proposal's proximity to residential properties.

"Knowing it's not going to be there is a tremendous relief already," Bolton said on Friday.  "We all understand that the police need to train ... If the chief thinks they need better training facilities, then they probably need better training facilities."

He said that from what he knows, the Johnson Road site is remote and he said he's unaware of any complaints to his group about it.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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