Willington landowner won’t sell property to state for shooting range [Journal Inquirer]

June 11, 2015

Article as it appeared in the Journal Inquirer

Willington landowner won’t sell property to state for shooting range By Kathleen G. McWilliams and Eric Bedner Journal Inquirer Journal Inquirer | 0 comments

WILLINGTON — The owner of the Eldredge Mills Road site that was being considered for the state police shooting range has told the state he would not sell the property after all.

The owner could not be reached for comment but the office of Sen. Tony Guglielmo, R-Stafford, confirmed the owner has now refused to consider selling the property.

The state had chosen three sites in Connecticut to replace the current shooting range on Nod Road in Simsbury. Two sites were in Willington and one was in East Windsor off Apothecary Hill Road.

The town protested the use of the Ruby Road and Eldredge Mills Road sites for the facility at two meetings in late May and campaigned against the proposal.

Resident Diana Shain said concerns about safety, noise, environmental damage, and a change in the character of the town were chief among residents.

“We live in this town, so we clearly would have been impacted,” Shain said. “We could tell it was going to be bigger and noisier and damaging to the environment.”

Reactions in East Windsor were similar to the proposal.

Selectman James Richards said the Economic Development Commission met and it was that board’s consensus the facility was not a good fit for the town.

“It’s not in our plans for our town,” he said. “I would hope that the state would reconsider. I just don’t think it’s the right fit for East Windsor.”

Richards cited the potential for a decrease in property values in the immediate area of the firearms facility as one of the reasons he is opposed to it moving to East Windsor.

Although, he said, the facility could bring in revenue to local businesses, such as restaurants.

The state is moving forward with environmental impact studies of the two sites despite the opposition.

At the meeting, Guglielmo said state police told him that they wouldn’t go anywhere they weren’t wanted. However, Guglielmo, a ranking member of the public safety committee, said that with state police moving forward with an environmental study of the Ruby Road location he wasn’t sure that residents’ concerns were taken seriously.

“I’m not sure it’s going to be an easy fight,” Guglielmo said. “We’ve got a fight on our hands.”

State police could not be reached for comment today, though Jeffrey Bolton of the Department of Administrative Services verified the Willington landowner had pulled out