Wednesday, September 7, 2011

City Gives Away 100% of Revenue From Eagle Creek Pistol Range; Contract Not Put Out for Bid While Taxpayers Left on the Hook for Paying Operating Costs of the Facility

The City's crack negotiators have struck again.

The City (actually the building authority) owns the pistol range at Eagle Creek Park.  The range is used by the IMPD during the week.  The City decided to privatize the range, bringing in a private vendor to open it to the public on the weekend. So of course our city's skillful negotiators made sure taxpayers received a cut of the contractor's profits, right?

Of course not. They gave all the revenue away to a company called Tactical Firearms Training, LLC, which is owned by Zionsville attorney Guy A. Relford.  Apparently it was not a sweetheart enough deal for the vendor to get 100% of the profits. The City also agreed to kick in $750 for startup costs. 

Meanwhile the City remains on the hook for more than $48,000 plus in annual costs, including $13,000 in utilities incurred at the facility.

Here is the sweetheart deal signed by Stuart Lowry, Director of the Parks Department and Mr. Relford of Tactical Firearms Training, LLC. in June of 2011, which, according to City officials, was not put out for public bid.

To summarize, we taxpayers pay for a shooting range used by IMPD during the week and on the weekend it gets turned over to a private vendor.  The vendor gets to use the facility for free and keeps all of the money the vendor can make.  Plus we kick in $750 for start up costs.

I saw nothing in the contract that reserved the use of the facility during the week to IMPD while the contractor uses it on the weekend.  While that appears to be the current practice, they don't appear to have included in the contract.   Likewise if the contractor provides services to the City (such as training for IMPD officers) in exchange for the free use of the facility on the weekends, that also doesn't appear in the contract.

NOTE:  Thanks goes to Attorney Brian Sweeney for undercovering this contract and information about the contract not being put up for public bid.


Downtown Indy said...

Just imagine if the city let some private citizen with a trash hauling business use DPW trucks on the weekend for free and kicked in $750 for fuel and tipping fees.

Would there not be tremendous outrage? Would there not be people getting fired for that?

Cato said...

If the range is primarily used for IMPD, shouldn't the operating expenses for the range come out of the IMPD budget, not Indyparks'?

Further, what is a police pistol range doing in a public park? Public park resources are to be used for the public.

Eagle Creek Park is set aside for public enjoyment, not for cops to improve their skill in shooting at the citizens. Government training facilities are not parks. Calling something a "park" means the public has full and open access to it.

Let the cops get their own range, likely in some Harding St. landfill, and let Eagle Creek Pistol Range be open seven days a week for the citizens.

Cato said...

Paul - that Google document thing doesn't work.

Southsider said...

If you Google search Eagle Creek park Indianapolis Pistol Range, Click on Maps, you will see that the range is a triangular configuration, W 56th st on the south, 1-465 on the west and I 65 on the east. This area at one time was included in Eagle Creek proper until I-465 was built. If you zoom in on the aerial view you will see buildings for classroom training, structures for different types of building scenarios, and the shooting/qualification range itself is enclosed on all sides by concrete walls, and backstop. You should see it for yourself before commenting, I have done so with a LEO friend.
So fyi the 'cops' have their own range 'cause this section of the 'park' was empty acreage. The public that enjoys Eagle Creek Park would have to walk across I-465 to be in harms way from firearms training. As for the utilities the police train in all kinds of weather twice a year 8 hours a session.

Cato said...

SS, I think you missed the point.

CircleCityScribe said...

This sounds similar to the creation of Lawrence Utilities LLC.

Does anyone know if Tom Schneider was a consultant for this deal, giving the money to the private contractor???