Proposed Shooting Range Worries Residents
Residents of a Canton neighborhood are worried about safety, noise, and traffic, if a shooting range is built in their community.
Many people living in the historic black community of Gibsontown signed a petition opposing the proposal to build a police shooting range in an old landfill off Dutch Cove Road. "We are strongly opposed to these plans and to this development," says Wanda Walker.
Some residents claim the neighborhood is being railroaded because of their race. "One of the council members said it was undesirable. He didn't say what was undesirable. We don't know if what he said meant the people or the land or what," says resident and NAACP member Lewis Oats.
Town leaders say race had nothing to do with the proposal. "None whatsoever. This was property that the town had owned," says Mayor Mike Ray.
The Mayor says Town Aldermen are simply looking at possible sites, and there's no racism involved. He says other options will be considered, including paying a fee to share firing ranges used by the Haywood County Sheriff's Office, and the Waynesville Police Department.
The Town of Canton will continue to explore options for a shooting range and says no decision will be made without the public's knowledge.
By: Rex Hodge
Follow Rex on Twitter @RexHodgeWLOS