City of Chattanooga votes to make Hamilton County a partner in firing range

City of Chattanooga votes to make Hamilton County a partner in firing range

June 19th, 2013 by Cliff Hightower in Local - Breaking News

Carol Berz

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

OTHER ACTIONS

The Chattanooga City Council on Tuesday:

• Approved 9-0 allowing high-gravity beer to be sold at a wine store next to Enzo's Market in the Southside. The change in the ordinance affects only that store, Councilman Chris Anderson said.

• Approved spending up to $1.5 million to build a new fire hall on Eighth Avenue in East Lake.

Hamilton County is now footing half the bill on an indoor firing range.

The Chattanooga City Council voted 9-0 Tuesday night to give ownership of half the property for an indoor firing range to the county. But questions arose before the city handed over 50 percent of the land the range sits on at the old Farmer's Market site.

Councilwoman Carol Berz wanted to know that everything -- construction, operation and maintenance costs -- would be split.

"Can I safely assume it will be split 50/50?" she asked.

Police Chief Bobby Dodd said yes, all costs would be equal.

"It's been 50/50 from day one, and that's why they want half ownership," he said.

The city and county have been working together on the firing range for months after the U.S. National Park Service took possession of the old range next to the Moccasin Bend National Archaeological Park.

Travis McDonough, chief of staff for Mayor Andy Berke, said there was one stipulation within the contract for the firing range that may not mean exactly each would pay half. He said the contract states the county would pay $1.5 million and no more.

But Dodd said police officers, who will be using the range, always could come back to the Hamilton County Commission and ask for more money if needed, just like the City Council.

The total cost of construction is more than $4 million, city officials said.

floodwater control

The Chattanooga City Council approved 7-2 Tuesday night spending $300,000 for a flood management plan along four area creeks in an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Councilmen Chip Henderson and Ken Smith voted against spending the money.

Council members questioned why the study needed to be conducted.

"What would be the benefit beyond what we already know?" Councilman Larry Grohn asked.

Lee Norris, administrator of Public Works, said the information could be put into a computer program that would help the city know specifics about the creeks.

"We can project how fast and where Lookout Creek is going to flood," he said. "We can't do that right now."

McDonough told the council this would be the completion of a two phase implementation of the flood program.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him at twitter.com/cliffhightower or facebook.com/cliff.hightower.