Marengo City Council approves gun range, shop for former McGill property

Residents in support, opposition of proposal show up to meeting

Marengo resident Rebecca White speaks about a proposed gun range and shop at Marengo's City Council meeting Monday. White supports the plan.
Marengo resident Rebecca White speaks about a proposed gun range and shop at Marengo's City Council meeting Monday. White supports the plan.

The Marengo City Council met Monday and approved a gun range proposal that has sparked concerns from residents.

Union-based developer D5 Ranges Inc. wants to use the former McGill property as a gun range and shop, but some residents and city officials are concerned that it’s not a right fit for the area.

The meeting was held at Marengo High School because too many people were in attendance to fit in the council chambers at City Hall.

“I am opposed to this because of its location,” said Jennifer Haas, who directs the Parent’s Day Out program with nearby Marengo United Methodist Church. “I know it will bring in tax revenue and attract people to the community, but the day care is right across the street.”

She said she has fielded many calls from parents concerned about the matter since its proposal.

“I understand the need to fill vacant storefronts, but I hope that desire doesn’t keep our elected officials from thinking long term,” Haas said.

D5 Ranges Inc. designs and manufactures gun ranges across the nation, and it has worked with U.S. military agencies, police departments and private range owners.

The company takes interested parties through the development process – from conception and design to fabrication, installation and outfitting, according to its website.

The former McGill building – historically used for manufacturing – most recently was owned by Marengo United Methodist Church.

The range would be subject to federal, state and local rules and regulations.

It 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 breath test and zero tolerance policy. The shop won’t test patrons unless there is reason to suspect someone is under the influence, council members decided Monday.

D5 Ranges also would need to incorporate 24/7 lighting and security cameras, as well as review safety plans with the police department.

Many residents said the shop could spur needed economic development. People from Crystal Lake, Lake in the Hills, Belvidere and other communities came to the meeting to voice their support.

“If businesses are out of town, people don’t come into the town as much,” Marengo resident Rebecca White said. “To bring it downtown will bring people in. I couldn’t think of a better place. You are going to have the police coming in from everywhere. ... It will bring safety to town. We don’t want to push businesses to the outskirts, especially when the downtown isn’t doing too well.”

Only 3rd Ward Alderman Matt Keenum voted against the proposal.

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