Royalton City Council hears concerns on proposed police shooting range

By Liz Verley, Staff Writer

Royalton Police Chief Adam Gunderson discussed concerns of the residents who live closest to his proposed shooting range which could be located near the city-owned waste ponds and compost pile in Royalton.

At a previous meeting, Gunderson had been directed by the Royalton City Council to visit with the neighbors near the site and explain his proposal.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Gunderson reviewed a letter addressed to the mayor and council members from Lorie, Chad, Michael and Sheryl Duevel.

The Duevels expressed their concerns regarding security, direction of the proposed trajectory, being notified prior to the range being used, the frequency of the use and who would be authorized to use the range.

“The trajectory for firing is right through our woods where we have trails, cattle and use daily all seasons of the year,” the Duevels’ letter said. “We use all of the acres in our land within the direction that the firing will occur. It seems fine that a huge berm will be in place and the angle will be downhill, however, we would like to have the direction changed to go further east and avoid passing over our land.”

Gunderson said the proposed range would be used two or three days a month by his department and twice a year by the youth gun safety classes for certification.

Council Member Ron Verley asked Gunderson why the range was so important for the Police Department.

“It is the training aspect. We now travel 17 miles to shoot and have to do it when the Sheriff’s Department is out there or we don’t have access,” said Gunderson. “We have the property and it is not being used. If we don’t practice our skills we will not be as proficient as we should be. If we have a range here, I would not have to have the department come in on their days off to shoot. It will be a time and cost savings.”

Gunderson’s plan is to seek donations and grants to fund the project. “It could take a couple of years before it happens depending on the funding,” he said.

Council Member Al Libke said, “If this is approved in the future we will need a very strict policy addressing this matter.”

No decision was made to approve the project, but Gunderson was told he could continue to gather information.

Royalton City Council Briefs

Other business that came before the Royalton City Council Tuesday, included:

• Approving the early payoff of the Dairy Queen Maple Street/Frontage Road and North Oak Street projects at a cost of approximately $75,000;

• Accepting a donation of $250 from Al and Marty Toenies to be used toward the city’s holiday lights;

• Accepting the fire contract with Langola Township;

• Approving the annual street sweeping contract with Astech at a rate of $95 per hour. Mayor Andrea Lauer noted this was the same rate it has been for the past several years;

• Approving the request to allow Police Chief Adam Gunderson to attend the Active Shooter Conference. The conference is free and the city will pay mileage and hotel expenses;

• Accepting a recycling grant in the amount $1,408 and a cleanup day grant for $403 from Morrison County;

• Setting Saturday, April 26 as the city’s cleanup day;

• Hearing Councilman Scott Walberg’s report on Police Chief Gunderson’s review, and approving a pay increase from $26.09 to $27.14 per hour effective March 7;

• Approving the request from the Tree Board to purchase trees at a cost of $300. Also setting May 2 as Royalton’s Arbor Day;

• Asking Fire Chief Duane Bursey to continue to research the cost, grants, etc. for the feasibility of the city purchasing the old grocery store and lot located beside the fire hall for possible use by the department;

• Approving an off-sale liquor license for Cheryl Denn, St. Joseph. The business will be called Royalton Discount Liquor and will be located at 124 North Highway 10;

• Approving the updates to the city’s comprehensive plan and sign ordinance;

• Setting a special meeting to discuss the Industrial Park’s financing and infrastructure needs. The meeting will be held Tuesday April 22 at 6:30 p.m.; and

• Agreeing to hold a public hearing Tuesday, May 6, at 7:15 p.m. on the rezoning of the Industrial Park property.

The next meeting of the Royalton City Council will be held Tuesday, May 6.