Cedar Rapids police say they’re on target with plans to expand their shooting range practice facility, located at 2727 Old River Rd. SW.
The upgrade is estimated to cost around $1.3 million, with the costs covered through grand funds.
The project will involve widening the range, adding concrete barriers to divide the space and build up the back berm to help eliminate noise pollution and protect surrounding developments.
“We can’t totally eliminate the sound, but we can certainly work on it,” said Cedar Rapids Police Capt. Bernie Walther, who’s heading up the expansion project.
Neighbors at the nearby Navajo Park subdivision have live with the noise from the shooting range for years. Steve Kelley, who lives just a mile from the practice range, says he’d rather have well-trained officers and a little noise than no range at all.
“With problems with crime we’ve had lately, I’m all for anything police need to do,” Kelley said.
By widening the range, more departments can shoot at the same time, reducing the number of shooting days at the facility.
“As it stands now, you can only have one group on (the range) at a time,” Walther said.
Cedar Rapids police also train new officers on this range. Sending them to Des Moines for training would cost $7,000 to $10,000 per officer. Other law enforcement agencies also use the range, including the Iowa City and Mount Vernon police departments and the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’re all trained in the same tactics, we know what to do together,” Walther said.
By making these upgrades, Walther says hosting officers from surrounding communities will be easier, providing better back-up during an emergency.
“We want to make sure that the people we work with are well trained, as much as those agencies want to make sure we’re well trained,” Cpt. Walthers says.
It could take up to three years to complete the expansion project.