Citing mass shootings, developer scraps plan for shooting range, gun store in Mundelein
Citing recent mass shootings, a suburban real estate developer has scuttled a controversial plan to build a gun store and shooting range in Mundelein.
The violence at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas, that left 19 students and two teachers dead was the primary factor for the about-face, said Scott Gendell, president of Wilmette-based Terraco Real Estate.
"After the Uvalde tragedy, it became quite clear that we would not proceed forward," Gendell said in an email Monday.
Last week's deadly mass shooting in Highland Park "simply reinforces our decision," Gendell added.
"The Highland Park tragedy weighs heavily on all of us," he said.
Maxon Shooter's Supplies, which operates in Des Plaines, wanted to build a second store on vacant land at 320 Townline Road. The site is just west of a Salvation Army store and donation center and near an indoor baseball training facility.
Maxon owner Dan Eldridge publicly unveiled the plan in May, two weeks before the Uvalde massacre. At the time, Mayor Steve Lentz and trustees said they liked the proposal but took no formal action.
Opposition mounted quickly and intensified after last week's mass shooting in Highland Park.
Village officials learned the plan was dead over the weekend, and Lentz announced it on the village's Facebook page Sunday.
In a subsequent email, Lentz said he and trustees received dozens of emails opposing the project, including a wave after the shooting in Uvalde and another after the tragedy in Highland Park.
"Emotions on the issue are very high right now, and I think there is a sense of relief that this project is off the table," Lentz said. "We were headed for some very long and emotional meetings."
Adi Mor, who owns the property, agreed with the decision to scrap the project.
"The community comes first," Mor said.
Eldridge said he and his team are disappointed they won't be able to bring "a world-class, safety centered facility" to Mundelein.
"(We) will focus our future efforts on communities in which we are wanted," Eldridge said.
The decision prompted responses from people who opposed and supported the plan.
"In light of recent events this is the right thing to do," Mundelein resident Brenda Zehner said on Facebook. "I personally for now am breathing a sigh of relief."
Resident Nicole Sullivan said future gun businesses considering opening in Mundelein should know "we don't want you here."
Other people, like Facebook user Charlotte Steinbach, expressed disappointment in the plan's demise.
"A range is a legal business and there are responsible citizens who would like a place to shoot & teach our children to respect handguns & be responsible for handling one," Steinbach said in a post.
Mundelein resident Erin Amsler accused people of scaring off "yet another business."
This is the second time in five years that a plan for a gun store and range in Mundelein has faded away. A proposal to open one on Route 45 east of Route 83 was scrapped in August 2017 after encountering significant opposition.