Mounds View residents voice concern and support for possible gun range


Hannah Burlingame • The site of a proposed gun range and apartment complex at Mounds View Boulevard and County Road H2 in Mounds View.

Thomas Bonneville/Lillie News • The Mounds View City Council heard from people both for and against a proposed gun range and apartment complex during the public comment section at its Jan. 8 meeting. The range and complex would be located at Crossroads Pointe at the intersection of Mounds View Boulevard and County Road H2. The developer has a year to bring a final proposal to the city.

“I can tell you, if there’s a gun club next to a place I might buy or rent, I won’t buy it or rent it,” said Mounds View resident Verne Rice. 

Rice and other residents came out to discuss a proposed gun range during the Mounds View City Council’s Jan. 8 meeting,

“I get everyone gets scared about a gun club,” said Jodi Hemingson. “But everything I’ve heard tonight is [about] the absolute worst case possible.”

The gun range, packaged together with an apartment complex and retail shopping in a project proposed by developer INH Properties and the Heartland Gun Club & Range, would be at Crossroad Pointe at the intersection of Mounds View Boulevard and County Road H2. 

The Mounds View Economic Administration and INH Properties had struck a preliminary economic development agreement that same day, which gives the developer a year to finalize their proposal and present it to the city.

More than a dozen people came to speak for and against the proposal, using the meeting’s public comment time to voice their opinions.

The gun range and apartment proposal was not on the night’s meeting agenda, so council members were not to engage in the discussion, said Mayor Carol Mueller. 

Representatives from both INH Properties and Heartland Gun Club were at the meeting and available for residents to speak to. INH Properties and Heartland Gun Club could not be reached for further comment. 

The council tabled a public hearing scheduled for Feb. 26 on amending city code regarding the possession, aiming or discharging of a weapon in the city. The amendment is necessary to make the proposed gun range possible, and was tabled to be scheduled for a later date after the council heard residents’ concerns about the range.

 

“Please, please

 don’t ...”

Safety and community continuity were the chief concerns of those in opposition to the gun range. 

“I’m not opposed to the Second Amendment,” said William Urbanski, adding, however, that he is opposed a gun club being located at the Crossroad site. 

Ann Zierdt described Mounds View as a “destination city” and said that a “gun club undermines that image and will lower home value.”

“Pulling up a map online to find a gun club tucked in a residential area surrounded by two schools and a senior living facility does not send a positive message,” said Zierdt, adding that her safety and that of her middle school-aged child is “not for sale.”

Sherryl Schrader said she runs a childcare facility in Mounds View and is responsible for eight children. She said she regularly takes active shooter training, and that she keeps her doors locked everyday, but that a gun club nearby would make her fearful if she and the children are outside. 

“I can’t believe this is coming up in this community” she said. 

A Mounds View resident for 27 years, Mary Scotch said she and her neighbors in her cul-du-sac all found out about the possible gun range at the same time, talked about it, and are all in opposition of it. “I believe we can do something more valuable with that land,” said Scotch.

“Please, please don’t put it in the midst of our population,” said 40-year Mounds View resident Steve Chambers of the gun range. 

 

Like going to the gym

Those in favor of the club spoke of a place for local sportspeople to gather and safely practice their hobby. Gun range supporters also saw the range as a potential regional gun-owner magnet and thus an economic boon for the city.

Hemingson said gun owners adhere to a “code of ethics,” and that the presence of a gun club isn’t going to make the city less safe. Others echoed her sentiments.

“I’m not afraid for my four kids that there will be an active shooter. In my home, I have four guns, and those are in your community already,” said Carl Spande. He said that he frequents shooting ranges in other cities and has “never once had a bad situation.”

“We’re actually leaving the community to spend money in other cities,” added Spande. 

Jeff Mortiko, owner of Moe’s of Mounds View, a restaurant located on Mounds View Boulevard on the other side of County Road H2 from the proposed gun range and apartment site, said that he is in favor of the gun range and believes the Mounds View council to be “pro business.”

Mortiko said he visited a gun range to see it for himself. He said he saw people “going in with duffle bags and out with duffle bags,” like people going in and out of a gym. He said there was no way of telling what the people were doing and that he never saw anyone brandish a weapon or heard any noise. 

Mueller said the council will know more after the developer finish the proposal and that there will be a minimum of two or three public hearings on the gun range and apartment complex proposal, once the developer deliver the plans.

 


– Solomon Gustavo can be reached at sgustavo@lillienews.com or 651-748-7815.

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