A reconstruction project that promises to provide noise pollution relief to shoreline communities appears to be moving forward.
Design firm Smith-Miller & Hawkinson has been selected to develop plans for the reconstruction of an NYPD pistol range and training facility at Rodman’s Neck, according to a NYC Department of Design and Construction spokesman.
This follows a Public Request for Proposal process to which nine firms responded and to which at least 128 individuals downloaded the paperwork.
The redesign of the range is expected to include sound baffling that will muffle or block the non-stop gun noise from the NYPD range.
“A goal for the project is that the reconstructed training area should not cause noise levels in surrounding communities to rise above background ambient levels,” said the DDC.
The sound remediation would be part of a much larger $275 million allocation to rebuild the facility, which members of the City Island Civic Association and the 45th Precinct Community Council described as needing repair and renovation in previous Bronx Times articles.
Bob Bieder, 45th Precinct Community Council president, said that after several meetings with NYPD officials during the last few years, he was impressed with the level of communication the council and community associations had with the police.
He said that such a level of engagement was unusual with city agencies and said another meeting was likely to follow soon.
“We are going to set up a meeting in May or June, if they don’t reach out to us first,” said Bieder. “Certainly, permanent sound abatement is what we are looking for, and we should be able to see exactly what the contractor has in the plan.”
The precinct council president also said that he is going to request that a project liaison be appointed, and that he plans to address other concerns, like truck traffic related to construction.
John Doyle, 45th Precinct Community Council board member and a City Island community leader, said that communication between the council, civic groups and police, especially Philip Heller, NYPD chief of capital projects, has been very fruitful.
There is an informal monitoring committee that includes civic associations and individuals from City Island, Pelham Bay, Edgewater Park, Country Club and Spencer Estate that is checking-up on the project, said Doyle.
“As vendors are selected it is just an affirmation that things are moving forward,” said Doyle. “These are small steps, but because they are actually happening, they restore people’s faith in the process.”
Noise abatement had been highlighted in a 1993 Memorandum of Understanding between the police department and the state legislature, but it never came to fruition and other efforts to mitigate noise, including a plan to move the range to College Point, didn’t happen.
Annie Boller, a 45th Precinct Community Council board member, stated in an email that she is glad the project is moving forward and that on overcast days she can hear the gun fire sound from the range in Waterbury-LaSalle, her own community.
“Certain areas have been putting up with the increasing noise levels for so long and for the reconstruction to actually be coming to fruition is wonderful,” she stated.