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Training facility for police, fire departments proposed

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A rendering of a proposed combined training facility for the Gallatin police and fire departments at the city's industrial park that was not approved by the Gallatin Industrial Development Board earlier this month. SUBMITTED

A proposed combined training facility for the Gallatin police and fire departments that would include a new fire hall and outdoor gun range at the city's industrial park will need to find a new location, according to the Gallatin Industrial Development Board.

The seven-member group, which governs the property, voted unanimously last week to uphold a previous decision allowing only the fire department to use 8.5 acres on Commerce Way, according to a letter signed by board chairman Dave Jose dated May 11.

Despite the decision, Jose added the board would consider other property for a joint training facility "subject to review and comment from the business in the Industrial Center."

"Our goal was to utilize the whole 8.5 acres and that's why it was an issue with putting a gun range there because it really didn't fit the overall scheme," Fire Chief Victor Williams said Tuesday. "So, (both departments) are going to be meeting next week to plan on how we want to look at a nearby 15-acre parcel and see if it is suitable for what we want to do."

The approximately 390-acre industrial park is home to 16 businesses, according to the Gallatin Economic Development Agency. There are four properties - totaling approximately 93 acres - that still remain vacant.

Gallatin Police Chief Don Bandy said his department currently uses the Sumner County Sheriff's Office's gun range on Odoms Bend Road, but scheduling conflicts can make using the facility difficult at times.

"Our agencies are getting bigger, our city is getting bigger and training is something you can never get enough of," Bandy said. "It's not always going out and shooting a bunch of rounds though. There are a lot of things and scenarios that we work on tactically as well."

An updated plan at a new location could be presented to the Gallatin Industrial Development Board in June or July, according to Williams.

In addition to the city's sixth fire station and outdoor gun range, the plan would also include a training building with office space, classrooms and storage areas; a burn building for live fire training; a four-story training tower; drill field for driver operation training; and an apparatus bay, if approved.

The project is expected to reduce response times in the area from eight minutes to three minutes and would improve the department's Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating, Williams said in March. Residents could see a reduction in their homeowner's insurance premium as a result of the change.

If approved by the Gallatin City Council and the city's industrial development board, the fire department estimates its facilities would become operational in the summer of 2022. There is not timeline for when the gun range would be completed.

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