A Shooting sports park shot down !

court_gavelCrossville, TN. – Public opposition led the Crossville City Council to vote 3-2 Tuesday night to rescind a contract with a non-profit organization seeking to build a shooting sports park on Albert Frye Rd. off Peavine Rd.

“During the March Work Session and March City Council meetings several members of the community spoke in opposition to the land transfer and have further submitted a petition in opposition to the transfer,” Councilman J.H. Graham III read from a resolution.

“Public objection to the transfer of the property in question has been clearly set forth.”

Graham said he had asked City Attorney William Ridley to prepare the resolution ahead of the special-called meeting, which was not set until 4:15 p.m. the day before.

The council approved the transfer of 146 acres of city-owned land off Albert Frye Rd. to the non-profit organization Crossville Shooting Sports, Inc. Feb. 23 for $1. The deed to the property was set to be conveyed April 1.

That contract specified, “Purchaser understand that Seller is a Government and can only purchase or sale land subject to the requirements of its Charter and State Law. Seller understands and agrees that this contract is subject to the successful completion of all requirements including, but not limited to advertising the sale of the property without public objection.”

Property owners have expressed concern about noise in the area from firearms, increased traffic, safety concerns and air, water and land pollution concerns.

Many also said they had received no communication about the project from the nonprofit organization and felt the group misrepresented the project in public meetings.

Wade Davenport, whose sister lives in the area, said during the March 14 meeting of the city council, “I’m sure it’s never been in the paper it’s going to be on Albert Frye Rd. It’s been it’s going to be on Chestnut Hill. It’s going to be the landfill.

“The problem with nobody complaining is it’s been misrepresented…I don’t understand how anybody would know where it’s going to be with the way it’s been done.”

Crossville Mayor James Mayberry said Tuesday there had been seven meetings — either during work sessions or meetings of the council — over the past 18 months. The property transfer was first discussed during the June 11, 2015, council work session. At that time, the property was referred to as the “landfill” property.

The city’s closed landfill is part of the property tract; however, the 35 acres for the landfill and an additional 40 acres along Interstate 40 were not included in the land transfer.

Mayberry said the shooting sports park would attract additional tourism to the community and included the award of a “highly sought-after” grant from TWRA.

He added the park offered an activity for the youth of the community.

“The educational part of learning safety, character, respect and especially going with your family to practice and to compete are the most important things,” Mayberry said.

Families active in shooting competitions travel across the country to matches.

“We could be on that circuit,” Mayberry said, adding that would boost revenue for local lodging and restaurants.

Mayberry concluded, “As far as I’m concerned, we have a valid contract and it really bothers me this council would vote to approve an agenda item and expend employees’ time and effort and taxpayer dollars on a project and possibly even receive a grant to later decide to abandon it.”

Councilman Scot Shanks asked for a show of hands of how many homes were located on Albert Frye Rd. There were five homeowners represented at the meeting. Those present said there were two more homes at the end of the road.

Shanks said, “I know the issue is noise and I think it’s the fear of the unknown. I live on the direct path of an airport, so I know — planes come right over my house.”

Harold Stryker, who owns a cabin approximately 500 feet from the shooting range, said, “That was your option, though.”

Shanks said he understood the airport was there before he moved to his home.

“That is a little different, and I will admit that,” he said.

Shanks asked if any testing had been conducted to measure how loud the shooting would be at the site. Those present noted they are just over one mile from an existing shooting sports facility and can hear those firearms.

Councilwoman Pamala Harris said she wanted the community to have a shooting park. However, she said, “The whole thing, in my opinion, was handled somewhat poorly from the front end.”

She said both the non-profit organization and the council did not do the proper due diligence throughout the project.

“We all have to take accountability for that,” Harris said. “There should have been a public hearing. There should have been an opportunity for the people to speak out. We said we talked about it in articles in the press and so forth and so on. That’s not a public hearing.”

She said she’d had calls for and against the project.

She added there were a lot of “unknowns” — from the level of noise to the impact on potential future development of property in the area.

Wyatt said, “We don’t have zoning in the city or county. That’s a bad word around here, from what I’ve found. It would make it simple if we did.”

He asked if any public hearings had been held in the past 18 months on the project. Mayberry said there had not been any.

Wyatt said, “You’ve got other property owners who’ve not come forward because they don’t know anything about it…I’m hanging my hat on 3.2 [clause of the contract]. It says we need to not have public outcry.”

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