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Marengo City Council to consider controversial gun range development

Members will meet Monday to consider proposal

Brian Pacheco (left) and his brother, Brandon Pacheco, practice shooting during a free gun training class for school employees at On Target Range and Tactical Training Center in Crystal Lake.
Brian Pacheco (left) and his brother, Brandon Pacheco, practice shooting during a free gun training class for school employees at On Target Range and Tactical Training Center in Crystal Lake.

The Marengo City Council is set to consider a proposed gun range and shop at its next meeting, but some residents are opposed to it.

D5 Ranges Inc., a Union-based developer, wants to take over the former McGill property – most recently owned by Marengo United Methodist Church – and redevelop it into a range and gun shop. Rich Lindner, president of the company, will need a special use permit to go through with the plan.

Marengo’s Planning and Zoning Commission voted to recommend the proposal to the City Council.

But not everyone thinks the plan is a good idea.

John Wyrostek, a Marengo resident and member of the Marengo Union Elementary School District 165 Board, said he doesn’t think the location is right for a gun range.

The building, at 131 E. Prairie St., doesn’t have its own parking lot and is located off State Street downtown. The property is across the street from

the Marengo Police Department and the Marengo Fire Protection District, and is near a church and preschool.

“It boggles my mind that it got this far,” Wyrostek said. “I don’t think this is what we should be doing, especially in this climate.”

D5 Ranges has worked with clients from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and numerous military bases to private facilities and police departments. The range would be subject to federal, state and local rules and regulations.

The range also would include ventilation and filtration systems, target retrievers, a bullet containment system and sound diminishing acoustics.

The planning commission added provisions to the recommended permit that require the range to have an on-site Breathalyzer and zero tolerance policy.

D5 Ranges also would need to incorporate 24/7 lighting, security cameras and a cooperative working relationship with Marengo’s police and fire officials, according to city documents.

Third Ward Alderman Matt Keenum said he isn’t in favor of the proposal because of its location.

“There are safety concerns with the church and school,” he said. “And I think a lot of it goes to the vision and branding of the downtown. I don’t think it’s what most people want to see in the downtown. That is my personal opinion, of course, but it’s one effected broadly in the community, as well.”

The Marengo City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday at City Hall, 132 E. Prairie St.

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