HARTFORD, CT — Keeping with a campaign promise, Gov. Ned Lamont said Friday that the new state police gun range won’t be in Griswold.
“We’re not going to put it in Griswold,” Lamont said at an unrelated press conference.
He said he’s talking to the commissioner of the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection and there are “dozens of existing ranges here in the state” that his administration will look at.
“We’re going to do a complete analysis,” Lamont said.
There is the National Guard shooting range in East Haven that has been suggested as a location in the past.
The previous administration contended that the East Haven National Guard site would not meet the state police’s training needs because police are trained to react differently in a shooting than Army personnel.
The current state police shooting range at the base of Avon Mountain floods too often, making training almost impossible. State police have said it needs to be relocated because it’s in a flood plain and the repeated flooding and mold led to the condemnation and demolition of the classroom building on the property.
Last March, the state planned purchase 113 acres of private land in Griswold off Lee Road near Pachaug State Forest. It had not yet completed the environmental impact study before Lamont took office. An estimated $2.87 million in bond authorizations remain for the firearms training facility.
Proposals to build a new state police range in Willington and East Windsor haven’t officially been scrapped, but state officials turned their attention to far eastern Connecticut, including Griswold, in 2016 following public hearings.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney applauded Lamont’s decision.
“For over three years, the Connecticut Department of Administrative Services has attempted to identify a location for a new training range, “ Courtney said. “And in every instance, they have both faced strong objection of local citizens and municipal leaders and resisted alternatives to this misguided plan. Every step of the way, I have opposed those efforts and spoken up on behalf of communities across eastern Connecticut who felt that they were not being heard in the process.”
Courtney said residents in eastern Connecticut are breathing a sigh of relief.
“I welcome his decision to take a fresh look at this issue, and in particular his focus on evaluating the use of existing ranges and facilities to augment the training needs of our state police — an approach I have called for since 2015. Governor Lamont and I have spoken about this important issue many times before he was elected and since he’s taken office, and I am grateful for his understanding and shared concern about our region.”