Reporting John Lauritsen
OSSEO, Minn. (WCCO) – In a matter of months, the city of Osseo could open a gun store and indoor shooting range in the middle of town.
It’s being discussed among city leaders right now, and many feel it could bring a lot of new business to Osseo.
“The cool thing is it will be a destination that will bring people to Osseo,” Osseo President of Economic Development Authority Kevin Rebman said.
As a Twin Cities town of 2,400, Osseo is constantly competing against larger cities for business.
“The opportunities that we get in Osseo, we have to go find,” Rebman said.
Rebman said the gun store and indoor shooting range with Olympic-size lanes is the perfect target to replace two vacant lots near Main Street. They’ve stood vacant for more than 10 years. But Rebman said the city has to move fast, or the developer could move on.
“If we can’t maintain his timeline, he’ll go somewhere else,” Rebman said. “And we don’t want that to happen.”
Neither does the town’s gun enthusiasts.
“I think it’s fine — I’ll be the first one to sign up and go shoot,” James Herrmann said.
Osseo business owner James Knowblauch said it’s an OK move.
“I think it’s good for business around here,” he said.
But there’s concern from some in town that the gun range would be in the wrong location. The building would be across the street from several homes, and just a few hundred feet from a high school.
Some homeowners worry it could hurt property values.
“I think thought it should be in an area maybe a little way away from all the action in town,” Jeannie Pietari said.
Osseo Superintendent Kate Maguire said the school’s concern is over the increased number of guns in the area, and who may be carrying those guns. She worries it could be a distraction for students and teachers.
“My preference would be that it would be located along another road some place,” she said. “In maintaining a safe and healthy work environment, the presence of weapons always makes that job more complex and difficult.”
There will be a hearing Monday night in Osseo to discuss the gun store and shooting range. Anyone is welcome to attend.
If the city council approves the plan, construction could begin by the end of July.