- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - The city of Anchorage will negotiate with Eklutna Corp. for 34 acres that could be used for police training grounds, including firing ranges.

The site for the planned South Central Law Enforcement Tactical Range is a parcel next to the Birchwood Shooting Range north of Eagle River, the Alaska Dispatch News reported (http://bit.ly/1GTXv6N ).

The project is estimated to cost about $13 million, and the Alaska Legislature already has allocated about $8.3 million for it.

Eklutna had proposed a long-term lease for the property. The municipality wants to buy the land, concluding a purchase would save “a significant amount of money,” spokesman Bryce Hyslip said.

Eklutna CEO Curtis McQueen said the company, which is the largest landholder in the Anchorage Bowl, prefers long-term leases. The Native corporation supports the project, he said, and a decision will be made that supports shareholders. Sale terms might include a future buy-back option, McQueen said.

The Anchorage Police Department has been seeking expanded training facilities for more than a decade, in part because of restrictions for the use of facilities at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The city’s state funding request describes the project as a dedicated outdoor shooting facility, with four tactical shooting ranges. A small-arms shooting range would mimic a city environment for training in forced entry and other tactics.

People who live nearby have expressed worries about noise. Jill Flanders Crosby, co-chair of the Birchwood Community Council, said she’d like to hear a municipality representative address concerns.

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Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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