Van Wert resident Terry Jackson speaks at Monday's Van Wert City council meeting about the possibility of bringing a shooting range to Van Wert. (Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)
Van Wert resident Terry Jackson speaks at Monday's Van Wert City council meeting about the possibility of bringing a shooting range to Van Wert. (Times Bulletin/Lindsay McCoy)
BY LINDSAY MCCOY

Times Bulletin News Writer

lmccoy@timesbulletin.com

VAN WERT- The city of Van Wert could be welcoming an indoor ballistic level eight shooting range in the future. Van Wert County resident, Terry Jackson, presented the idea to city council Monday evening and would own the facility along with Susan Jackson and Chuck and Robin McConn of Within Range- Heartland Shooting Sports LLC.

"With everything we have done, we have done extensive research," said Jackson. "We would like to bring this to the city of Van Wert."
The owners have set their sites on constructing the structure on Fox Rd. behind the Council on Aging facility. The range will be contained within a building to contain noise and restrain bullets.

The family-oriented business would also like to get youth organizations involved and hopes to educate children and adults about firearm safety and storage. A safety program will also be required for users of the facility.

Jackson is also hopeful to continue support and growth of the city through jobs and new business. The business is hoping to hire 13 full-time and six part-time employees. Local labor would also be used for the construction project. The range would be sanctioned with the NRA and could host competitive shooting competitions which would bring people and money to the city.

The city does have a law forbidding the discharge of a fire arm within the city limits, but an ordinance is already in place for the acceptance of a shooting range. Law Director John Hatcher reported that as long as the range was in compliance with regulations it would need no special requirements from the city.

The streets and alleys committee met to discuss the possibility of a traffic light at the intersection of Fox Rd. and Shannon St. Council is hopeful that by doing this it will avoid youth and those in a hurry attempting avoid this problem spot by going through the private driveways of Rural King and Taco Bell.

The traffic light would be coordinated with the light at the high school, and would remain green on St Rt 118 unless a vehicle was attempting to turn left from Fox Rd. The opening of the new elementary school added a lot to this vehicle count and brought attention to this crowded intersection.

The main concern is that the intersection meet a required criteria for its peak hour. Of several warrants, an ODOT study showed that the intersection met at least one warrant, that 650 vehicles passed through the three-road intersection per hour.

Costs for the project still need to be estimated and an engineering study would also need to be arranged. Another committee meeting will be set as soon as cost estimates arrive.

The parks and recreation committee also met to discuss updates on the Smiley Park concession stand project.

"I was hoping for a drawing and bid tonight, but we are just not there yet," said Safety Service Director Jay Fleming. "As a city entity, the process takes more time and has pushed the project back." Over the next month Fleming hopes to have details on the project pinned down, and council prepared legislation to advertise bids and award contracts for the construction of the new structure.

The new concession stand is expected to look much different then the past building as new compliance codes must be followed. The previous building was built according to codes that are now outdated.

The project is expected to be completed approximately four months after ground is broken and will not be completed until next spring. For the upcoming summer season, concessions will still be offered out of a rented trailer.

March 9 begins early registration for many park activities. More information can be found at www.vanwertparksrecreation.weebly.com.

A resolution allowing Fleming to accept bids in an energy auction was introduced and passed during the meeting. The auction for the city's remaining 19 meters will be held today at 11 a.m.

Fleming- 11 am tomorrow energy auction.

Mayor Don Farmer gave an update on the city's proposed aquatic center after it was pulled from May's election ballot. The city will be going forward with the aquatic center on the November ballot. The mayor is hopeful that this extra time will allow more time for architectural plans and fundraising. The park is now expected to be open around Memorial Day weekend in 2015.