The City announced today a decision to withdraw the 409 acre Coleman Farm property from usage as a proposed Public Safety Training Facility site. The decision follows an informational public meeting Monday night at Water Hill Elementary School where plans for the Coleman site were met with near unanimous opposition.
"The voice of the people in and around the Liberty Valley subdivision was loud and clear," said Assistant City Manager Jim Crumley. "Regardless of whether a firing range were located on the property, neighborhood residents do not want a police and fire training center nearby."
The goal of the meeting was to offer the proposed plan to nearby residents and interested parties for the purpose of gathering public input.
The City is no longer considering Coleman Farm as a possible location for the facility, but a Public Safety Training Center is still needed in a growing City that is projected to double by 2035.
"We remain committed to finding a feasible location for the Public Safety Training Facility," said City Manager Rob Lyons. "Our safety personnel need a location to conduct firearms training, emergency driving skills training and firefighter training to prepare them to protect our city and its citizens.
City administrators and safety personnel presented plans for the Public Safety Training Facility on Coleman Farm as the best option of several options under review, mainly on the basis of cost-effectiveness since the City already owns the property. SEC Engineer Mark Lee outlined three location options on the farm property, including one that administrators said had been pulled off the table. The remaining two options located the Public Safety Training Facility as far from Liberty Valley subdivision as possible, but an overwhelming majority of those who attended the meeting were adamantly opposed to using the property for a Training Center.
Phase 1 of the proposed $2.8 million Training Facility calls for a 5-story burn tower, dive pond, burn pit, driving pad for emergency driver training, K-9 building and a 285 foot communications tower. The City has been engaged in a two-year process to establish a location for a new Public Safety Training Facility. The City has also developed a Greenway Trailhead with Equestrian use in partnership with the United States Corp of Engineers (Corp) on the property.
The communications tower and trailhead for the Coleman property are still under consideration. The location of the communications tower is proposed to be amended from the site approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals last August to a location further from Liberty Valley residents. The plan for the trailhead must be approved by the Board of Zoning Appeals as a special use on the property. The City will continue to provide adequate public notice on any development of these plans.
The informational meeting Monday provided residents with an opportunity to ask questions and make comments on the proposed site plans. Staff recorded both vocal and written comments for a report to residents, the Board of Zoning Appeals, the Planning Commission, and the City Council. Those comments will still be helpful in developing a potential site going forward.
Engineers and architects with Lose Associates, working for the Corp, presented their conceptual site plan for a Greenway Trailhead on the Coleman Farm property. City Parks Director Lanny Goodwin also addressed questions about the Greenway plans. The trailhead would serve both walkers and equestrian uses and is designed to accommodate horse trailers. Hearing little opposition at Monday's public meeting, those plans for the Coleman Farm property are still under consideration.