A police advocacy organization is requesting a seat at the table in the mayor’s plan to renovate the city’s shooting range.
The mayor recently announced his plan to allocate $275 million over the next ten years to reconstruct the NYPD range, training and bomb squad facilities at Rodman’s Neck in Pelham Bay Park.
In response the 45th Precinct Community Council wrote to both Mayor de Blasio and James O’Niell, Police commissioner on Friday, February 10 requesting that a monitoring committee of community groups be established should the project go forward and local communities need updates.
Noting past shortcomings in terms of the community’s long-standing request for sound attenuation at the range, the letter urged a more collaborative approach.
“While we cannot change the past, we can plan for the future, and so we would propose that a monitoring committee, similar to what was done with the Croton Water Filtration Plant,” it stated.
The precinct council was referring to the Croton Filtration Monitoring Committee, which provided community oversight during that plant’s construction under Van Cortlandt Park.
Precinct council board member John Doyle said that the proposed monitoring committee would have public meetings where anyone could learn more and voice feedback.
“Our thoughts were that [sound baffling improvements] have been promised before,” he said. “We are looking to find some way to provide constructive feedback and public confidence.”
Promises to address sound from gunfire at the range through noise attenuation go back at least to a July 1993 memorandum of understanding signed by Mayor Dinkins, stated the letter.
In 2007, Mayor Bloomberg said that the range would move to a new police academy at College Point, Queens, a plan later sunk by budget shortfalls, said Doyle.
The board member reasoned that more information cannot hurt anyone, and it was highly likely that civic groups from City Island, Throggs Neck and Country Club would join the council, he said.
The council president, Bob Bieder, said that the letter also requests periodic precinct council updates on noise remediation.
Bieder said that Senator Jeff Klein has requested clarification as to the details of the project, including when the sound-baffling component of the much larger project would occur.
“We don’t know if they are going to do the sound baffling first, or the sound attenuation last,” said Bieder, adding that there are several components to the reconstruction.
Barbara Dolensek, City Island Civic Association vice-president, said that different attempts at sound attenuation at Rodman’s Neck “have disappeared from view” in the past, they don’t want it to happen again this time.
“I think the community council absolutely should be a part of the meetings to make sure this project goes forward,” said Dolensek. “If the community could participate in regular updates, that would be terrific and we would be sure that progress is being made.”