INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (March 15, 2016) — The City of Indianapolis has abruptly voided a contract and closed public shooting at the Eagle Creek Pistol Range.
The range, which has for years been open to the public on the weekends, except in winter, is also used by IMPD for training purposes.
Since 2011, Tactical Firearms Training owner Guy Relford has been contracted out to run the range for the public, also using it for training and safety classes.
“I provided the labor and supplies, I paid for insurance (and) everything else as far as what it took to run the range. Then we took in money from customers and I paid the city a percentage,” Relford said.
Last week, Relford logged onto a conference call that he said he thought would be about extending his contract beyond its end date in March of 2017.
“They informed me that they had no interest in going forward and they were actually not only not going to extend the contract but they were going to terminate it effective immediately,” Relford said.
In a letter to Relford, Indy Parks said the last extension to the contract was never signed by the city’s controller, making it voidable.
Indy Parks Director Linda Broadfoot told FOX59 by phone that it was “not economically feasible to continue,” saying the city was $1,700 “in the hole” from last year on the range.
Broadfoot provided this statement:
“Due to dramatically decreased attendance, Indy Parks will not be opening the Eagle Creek Pistol Range to the public for the 2016 season.
From 2012 – 2015, public attendance at the facility decreased by more 80%. The number of participants dropped from 5,150 in 2012 down to 793 by 2015.
Indy Parks did everything they could to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the range operator that would serve the best interests of taxpayers.
Going forward, the Eagle Creek Pistol Range will remain open for IMPD Training purposes and Indy Parks will continue to explore other opportunities for the facility.“
Relford acknowledged that attendance is down, citing new private facilities and clubs available in central Indiana.
Joe Jansen, a regular visitor to the range and volunteer, said that he will miss it and doesn’t understand why the city made its decisions so quickly.
“I took my daughters out there, nieces and nephews, my brothers, other friends. … How much profit does the Monon trail generate? And is that a valid reason for removing a public facility from use by the public?” Jansen said.
The city will also need to get approval from the federal government to keep the range closed, because it used grant money to build it and is currently in violation of the terms of that grant. Broadfoot said her office is in the process of asking for that approval.