MANSFIELD -- Mansfield Mayor Tim Theaker expects the construction of a new, outdoor shooting range for the Mansfield Police Department to be completed by the end of the month.

Theaker explained at Tuesday night's city council meeting that the outdoor shooting range is being built on property located west of Mansfield Lahm Regional Airport for less than $50,000 -- or significantly less than earlier proposals for an indoor range. 

“For two and a half years, we’ve tried to partner with everybody because the cost for building an indoor one was and is extremely expensive,” Theaker said. 

The plan was approved in July by the city’s board of control with money left over from the MPD’s budget, Theaker said. The board approved a $35,000 excavation and build for 30-foot walls in connection with a shooting range.

Control Board approves excavation plans for new Mansfield Police shooting range

At that time, finance chair of the control board Linn Steward explained the new plan would cost much less than earlier plans. Those ideas included replacing the former range located on the first floor of the city building or constructing a range above the parking lot beside the Diamond Street building.

"All I know is that (in the previous plan) we would have had to (pay) about $115,000 for about 25 years (for the $1.67 million plan) and we would have had to go out for bonds and borrow money," she said. "We decided to look at other plans and got some quotes to update (the range near the Mansfield Lahm Airport)."

The city already owned property in this area, so the plan moved much faster than it had in the approximately prior 2.5 years of planning an indoor range. 

Legislation is expected to come before council in the following weeks to name the range after Chief Lawrence E. Harper, who became the department’s first black police officer and then in 1990 the first chief in Mansfield's history. He passed away at the age of 89 in 2016.

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