McHenry County new training facility and firing range to open in October, as agencies approve membership agreements

Five agencies in McHenry County will be part of new facility to start

A construction worker removes a piece of a wall Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023, at the old Cary Village Hall, at 655 Village Hall Drive in Cary. Work has started on converting the space into the McHenry County Sheriff's Office's new law enforcement training facility. The facility will allow local agencies to train closer to home.

As the new McHenry County Regional Training Center – and an accompanying firing range – get closer to opening, the county and other agencies are finalizing an agreement on how the facility will be run.

That agreement will lay out a number of things that up to this point have not yet been decided, including how the facilities will be governed, and in what capacity, as well as how much it will cost for other agencies to use the facility.

The facility will be housed at what was formally the Cary Village Hall, which the village moved out of in late 2021. The firing range will be located about two miles away at a new structure near the Cary Public Works Department.

Work to transform the old Cary Village Hall into a training facility began in late January, while the new firing range broke ground in April as part of a ceremony.

However, construction on the firing range has not yet started, McHenry County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Emilly Matusek said on Tuesday.

It’s expected there will be a ribbon cutting for the training facility in October, while the firing range will open its doors in 2024, Matusek said.

The five initial agencies that will be involved initially are the villages of Cary – where the facility and firing range will be located – Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, McHenry and the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office. All parties except the county have approved the agreement within the past few weeks.

The plan calls for each municipality to pay an initial $5,000 as part of an offset cost to establish the agreement, as well as a proportional share of the operational costs for each building, according to the agreement.

The total operational cost for the training facility is expected to be just under $150,000, while the firing range will come in at nearly $174,000, according to the agreement approved by Lake in the Hills.

The agreement also will create a governing board to oversee the facility, which will be made up of representatives from each participating entity, according to the agreement from the village of Cary’s website.

If approved in its current form, the facility also will be staffed by McHenry County, which is paying for the facility’s $9.3 million cost. As part of the development plan, the village of Cary sold it to the sheriff’s office for $1 in 2022.

The agreement is expected to go in front of the McHenry County Board at their next meeting in June, Matusek said.

In the leadup to the building’s opening, officials have touted the benefits of opening such facilities. Among cutting costs as agencies won’t have to travel to other counties for training, it will allow local agencies to learn and work more closely together.