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Mayor’s letter seems to couch sound barrier issue in terms of feasibility, adding ambiguity

Sneaky mayor pulls fast one/Shooting range sound barrier not a certainty

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The installation of sound barriers during the reconstruction of the Rodman’s Neck NYPD shooting ranges has been demanded for over a generation – and now it doesn’t appear to be a certainty.

The mayor’s recent letter to local state elected officials about the shooting range project mentioned the sound barriers in ambiguous terms, alluding to the need for further feasibility study.

The letter dated Monday, June 19 stated that the “NYPD is currently studying the feasibility of utilizing sound proof construction fencing in and around existing and planned firearms ranges.”

A determination on the feasibility and potential effectiveness of this fencing is planned for the end of summer 2017, the mayor stated.

When news broke earlier this year that the $275 million renovation of the NYPD range planned over the next decade included $73 million for ‘six fully (sound) baffled outdoor ranges,’ community leaders in nearby shoreline communities expressed cautious optimism.

It appeared that if the renovation went forward, the sound baffles would be a certainty.

Now, elected officials said the letter from the mayor sent to Senator Jeff Klein, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto and Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj in response to their request for more information on the project indicates the sound barriers are not guaranteed.

All three elected officials responded to the mayor’s comments.

“It’s concerning to learn that the feasibility of such sound mitigation measures are still being studied by the NYPD, and that the city is only hopeful that sound proof construction fencing will be utilized,” said Klein, adding that going back to January, the sound barriers seemed a certainty.

The senator urged the administration, on behalf of people on City Island and the surrounding communities plagued with noise pollution from Rodman’s Neck, to ensure that sound barriers, or fencing, become a reality.

“The negative impacts of the firearms and controlled detonations at the outdated facility have been the number one complaint of City Island residents for years,” said Gjonaj. “The city should be more than ‘hopeful’ that the use of sound-proof construction fencing will improve the quality of life for the surrounding communities.”

The assemblyman believes that communities have struggled with ongoing noise pollution for so long, and that “the city must impose soundproof measures” to alleviate concerns.

Benedetto said that the NYPD should have stuck to an earlier plan, announced in 2007 and later abandoned, to move the range at Rodman’s Neck to the NYPD Police Academy that was then under construction at College Point, Queens.

It couldn’t cost much more than keeping it at Rodman’s Neck and performing $275 million worth of renovations, said Benedetto.

“It greatly concerns me, because frankly my position has always been that the police shooting range should not be in Rodman’s Neck in the first place,” said Benedetto.

The 45th Precinct Community Council plans to hold information meetings regarding the Rodman’s Neck reconstruction for the duration of the project, according to the council.

The mayor, who stated he was optimistic that fencing being studied would swiftly mitigate noise, also stated that he heard directly from the community on the sound issues during a November 2016 town hall hosted by Councilman James Vacca.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Updated 11:55 am, June 30, 2017
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