Hobart board OKs deal for firearms training facility on Ridge Road
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent February 5, 2014 11:18PM
Updated: February 6, 2014 2:03AM
HOBART — The Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved the first of several actions needed for the police department to operate a firearms training facility on acreage behind the Strack & Van Til grocery store on Ridge Road.
The board approved an interagency agreement between the police department and the city’s Sanitary District, which owns about 56 acres next to and behind Strack & Van Til.
The police department will pay the sanitary district $1,000 a year for about 10 acres of that land for the outdoor training facility, a large portion of which will be a firearms range, Police Chief Richard Zormier said.
“This is something that we’ve been working on for some time between the police department, city attorney and sanitary department,” Mayor Brian Snedecor said.
Zormier said the facility will be a partnership with the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy and will provide a close location for both Hobart police officers and those at the academy to go through needed firearms and other tactical training.
He said noise won’t be an issue for any residents or businesses because of the remote location and since berms that will be built there would muffle sounds. He said the facility will be at the far northern end of the property.
Zormier said this will be the first time the department will have a training facility in the city since the late 1970s and early 1980s, when it had one on Mississippi Street near where Silverstone Crossing is now.
He said the officers have been shooting at a location south of Lowell for the last three years and before that used a range in Crown Point for about 20 years.
“The Crown Point range was where the sports complex is now,” Zormier said.
He said the new facility will enable the department to save money on travel costs and its police officers to spend more time training.
He said training usually takes place between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and no one would be allowed there without a range master present.
The facility will be on two agendas Thursday night: The Board of Zoning Appeals will vote on a use variance and the Plan Commission will vote on a request for site plan approval.
If it crosses both those hurdles, the facility will go to the City Council for vote at its Feb. 19 meeting.