$275 million for Rodman’s Neck upgrades

Rodman’s Neck, the off-limits to the public NYPD shooting range, is slotted to receive $275 million in the mayor’s preliminary budget for restoration.
Community News Group / Photo by Patrick Rocchio

A proposal that is part of the mayor’s preliminary budget would allocate $275 million for a renovation of the NYPD facility at Rodman’s Neck.

The total funds will be allocated over a 10-year period.

The bomb detonation noise would not be mitigated under the mayor’s budget plan.

Community leaders expressed hopefulness after learning that part of Mayor de Blasio’s plan to upgrade Rodman’s Neck’s range and training facilities, made public on Tuesday, January 24, included $73 million for ‘six fully (sound) baffled outdoor ranges.’

Sound barriers to block noise from gunfire at the range have been a request for shoreline communities, particularly City Island and Country Club, for a generation.

Councilman James Vacca, who said he spoke with the mayor on the matter directly, said that he is now confident that the some funds will be in the final city budget for next fiscal year, taking effect on Saturday, July 1.

“It is very rare that the mayor suggests something in the preliminary budget that is not included in the final budget,” said Vacca, who believes that the matter has been high on the mayor’s agenda and that the project recognizes what police officers mean to the community.

The councilman said key future steps would be to get timetables for the construction and ensuring that the community has input in the design.

Vacca called the news a “fantastic first step.”

The proposal will create “a modern training environment that better prepares officers,” according to information from the mayor’s office.

In addition to the six ranges, there is $51 million for a new tactical village as well as $54 million for a facility for gun services, ammunition storage, classrooms, lockers and administrative space.

Barbara Dolensek, City Island Civic Association vice president, said that based on her knowledge, the sound remediation part of the project which the community desires will likely not happen for at least another three to four years.

“First they need to design it, then they will do infrastructure, and then the ranges,” said Dolensek, “(and) at that point, they can do the baffling.”

She said she’d like to see inexpensive temporary sound baffles installed at the facility while this process takes place to muffle noise of gunfire, which travels easily over the water to places like City Island or nearby Spencer Estate.

Another CICA board member, John Doyle, who recently started a petition calling for noise abatement at Rodman’s Neck said that he is waiting for the “shovel to be in the ground” on the project before he starts celebrating.

“At the end of the day, we all want the same thing: we all want sound remediation in that area and we want it as soon as possible,” said Doyle.

Dolensek feels that the range, which she has visited and toured with police personnel, should be upgraded to better serve the police and correction officers who use it.

She indicated that aside from the noise issue, the range is fine where it is.

Meanwhile, local police advocate and activist John Marano, said that he hopes to see mechanisms for the control not just of noise but also of pollution emissions from Rodman’s Neck.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

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