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May 2020
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Noise tests may be deciding factor for firearms range in Talking Rock

talking rock council - lee heisman

Lee Heisman, one of the owners of Executive Firearms Training, addresses the Talking Rock Council about an executive firearms training range they hope to open in the town.


By Ralph O. Dennis

Contributing writer


The Talking Rock City Council held a called meeting to make up for the cancelled regular session. Only one council member, Caleb Gay, was absent for this meeting. 

The council heard a presentation from Executive Firearms Training. One of the owners, Lee Heisman, proposed using 125 acres of property that the company had purchased as a firearms training facility. The intention is to hold classes on firearms safety and the proper use of firearms.

Under the proposal, the company will build a shooting range on a portion of the property. The property will only be used for classes or training/practice of the staff. The training also includes classroom work. The company will rent space in Town Hall for the classroom portion. The plans and fees for the courses also include lodging and lunches catered by local restaurants. 

The company believes that with the personnel of some major companies across the country coming to Talking Rock for the classes, the town will receive great exposure. 

Concerns of the council centered around noise issues. The staff of Executive Firearms and Mayor Randy Banks had already done some sound tests. Those tests indicated that a range at the proposed location would not create a noise problem for neighbors. The council asked for a noise level check by a third party before they make a ruling.

On the day after the meeting Mayor Banks told the Progress that an independent company had been hired to do the noise study.

In other news:

Council members opened two bids for the town maintenance contract. The bids far exceeded the budgeted amount. The contract would be for the remainder of the year. After much discussion, the council adjourned to executive session. 

The three members of the council eligible to conduct this meeting were James Bryant, Jr., Andrea Watson and Melissa Weaver. Council member Cheryl Sams recused herself since the executive session involved discussion of the possibility of hiring Mayor Banks (Cheryl’s brother) to do the job. 

The council members returned and moved to disregard the bids since they were too high and offer the contract to Mayor Banks at a fee of $1,800 per month.

Under the contract, the maintenance person (Banks) provides all their own equipment. They are responsible for all grass cutting and edging on town property as well as care of the buildings. The contractor also opens and locks the gate for the park and removes the trash from the park and cleans the restrooms. They complete other maintenance projects as needed.

The council then voted to hire Rachael Jones as the town clerk. She will be in the office three afternoons a week and will keep an eye on the park on those days. She will also open and close the park on alternating weekends.

Qualifying dates for the upcoming election were set for August 19-23, 2019. There will be three positions open - mayor and two council seats. Qualifying fee is $1.