Wood County Commissioners would do well to take advantage of every offer of assistance from the sheriff’s department in making certain plans for a new trail in Veterans Memorial Park are absolutely safe, with regard to the deputy sheriff’s association gun range.
According to Wood County Parks Superintendent Jeremy Cross, the trail has simply been roughed out with a few ribbons, and not finalized. There is plenty of time, then, to be sure the addition does not put citizens in harm’s way. With the county already embroiled in a lawsuit over another gun range that was closed due to safety concerns, it would be unconscionable to go off half-cocked, as it were, in planning improvements to a county facility that could be affected by proximity to another range.
Chief Law Enforcement Deputy Shawn Graham and Wood County Sheriff Ken Merritt expressed concern that plans for the walking route would create a problem that does not now exist.
“I do have reservations,” Merritt said. “We have to qualify out there two or three times a year. We used to get complaints about the gun range when it first went in from people living clear out on Route 31.”
Indeed, one would think commissioners might be more gun shy in planning such a project, as their battle with the owner of another range has reached U.S. District Court.
“We just need to go out and check it out,” Graham said. “We have no problems with efforts to improve the park, we just want to make sure everyone is safe.”
With that level of concern, Graham has volunteered to walk the proposed trail route with commissioners in order to determine what, if any, safety risks exist. Commissioners had better take into account whatever advice Graham is able to offer, and be prepared to alter the planned route, if necessary.