"An initial study on the site is available to the public now for
comments until April 13, and then we'll bring those back to the
committee," said Ricky Ramos, an associate planner with the city.
City officials said a separate environmental impact report, broader in
scope and relating to Central Park, already exists for the 4.9-acre site,
but the committee's plan is to focus only on the range and what is needed
to clean it up.
Once site remediation efforts are complete, there are a whole host of
potential park uses that could be built, they added.
"When the original master plan for Central Park was designed, the gun
range was left out because it was in use," said Jim Engle, deputy
director of community services. "So it could support basketball courts,
additional soccer fields, and even serve as a relocation site for Dog
Park . . . basically anything that isn't a gun range."
Tucked away in an undeveloped section of Central Park south of Talbert
Avenue near Gothard Street, the gun range first opened in 1967, serving
as a firing ground for the public and law enforcement agencies.
Built as an open-air range, the outdoor facility offered separate
pistol, rifle and public training, but was shut down in 1997. The firing center was originally built on a former landfill, and sink holes from
decomposing waste caused ground instability. A year before, a stray
bullet broke through a sliding glass door of a home just north of Central
Lead contamination is an obvious issue that is included in the initial
study, which looked at the site's land use and geology, Ramos said. Other
potential impacts to air and water quality are also included, he added.
The city has been working to build a new state-of-the-art gun range to
train police and other law enforcement agencies, and in January, sought
federal money to help fund a 38,600-square-foot indoor shooting area with
noise control and filters to clear the air of lead dust. It also includes
a 25,425-square-foot outdoor area for physical training and exercises
without the firing of any weapons and carries an estimated cost of
between $3 million to $4 million.