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City terminates contract with gun range

Posted at 4:45 PM, Mar 17, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- The reasons for closing the Eagle Creek Pistol Range are as varied as the number of people you speak with. But as with anything having to do with government, money is a deciding factor. 

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On weekends at the Eagle Creek gun range, the silence will be deafening. No longer will Central Indiana gun enthusiasts have a place to safely train with their firearms.

Indy Parks cited a dramatic decline in attendance, from more than 5,100 participants in 2012 to just below 800 in 2015.

Parks officials issued a statement saying it did everything it could to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the range operator that would serve in the best interests of the taxpayers.

The range operator, Tactical Firearms Training, says the city failed to meet its contractual obligation to fix facilities, including a trailer that contained black mold and no running water.

In addition, the operator said the city demanded insurance coverage well in excess of what thousands of other ranges across the country paid for coverage. Guy Relford said Indy Parks and Indianapolis taxpayers didn't lose a dime.

"The city got a percentage of the gate. I paid off the expenses and provided all the staff. So as attendance declines, and it did, the city still got checks because I bore all the expense," Relford said. 

In the past year alone, five new indoor shooting ranges have popped up across the city. But even Eagle Creek's competitors said the city should have left it alone.

"If the city was getting five dollars per month from them, they didn't have anything invested in it. I think it was a political issue at the end of the day," Brian Ludlow, owner of Indy Trading Post said. 

Tactical Firearms Training had a perfect safety record going on five years without a single incident. 

The Eagle Creek range that was set to open this weekend, will remain closed to the general public for the foreseeable future. 

Indy Parks Director Linda Broadfoot issued the following statement about the closure of the range: 

“We are sorry that those residents who enjoyed the Eagle Creek Pistol Range will no longer be able to have public access to the facility. 

Indy Parks did attempt to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the range operator that would serve the best interests of taxpayers.

Due to a $50 million operating deficit for the City of Indianapolis the unfortunate consequence is that tough decisions have to be made.

Going forward, the Eagle Creek Pistol Range will remain open for IMPD Training purposes and Indy Parks will continue to explore other opportunities.“


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