Mayor de Blasio recognizes Rodman’s Neck range noise as a community concern

Only a handful of local community leaders have ever received permission to visit the NYPD facility at Rodman’s Neck, but it remains a topic of concern. Noise from the waterfront range and detonation facility was discussed at a town hall with Mayor de Blasio.
Community News Group / Patrick Rocchio

The mayor made statements in response to community questions at a recent Town Hall meeting about the city’s plans to overhaul the NYPD facility at Rodman’s Neck.

Mayor de Blasio was asked about sound abatement plans that are part of an overall upgrade to the NYPD’s firearm training range and bomb squad on Eastchester Bay near City Island, Spencer Estate and Pelham Bay Park.

He said at the meeting at Villa Barone Manor on Wednesday, August 10 that city is committed to including the renovation in a 10-year Capital Budget in January 2017.

“I can tell you with assurance there will be an upgrade of Rodman’s Neck and there will be soundproofing involved and included in that budget,” vowed de Blasio.

As part of a complete overhaul of the range, costing between $150 million to $800 million according to Councilman James Vacca, sound baffling, a technique used at gun ranges to block gun-related sound from affecting nearby communities, will be included.

“Rodman’s Neck is good news, but that still means that there is a process that we have to track,” said Vacca, adding that he believes that the mayor has prioritized sound barriers.

Should the money be budgeted and the project designed, there would then have to be input from the community board, civic associations and neighbors before range rehabilitation plans were finalized and acted upon, said the councilman.

“It is not going to happen tomorrow,” said Vacca of the Rodman’s Neck renovations.

Barbara Dolensek, City Island Civic Association vice president, said that she has letters going back to the Dinkins’ administration indicating that the NYPD was planning sound baffling at the facility, and expressed her frustration to the mayor about the lack of movement on the issue.

“We are still concerned about the timetable,” said Dolensek after the meeting.

She said that CICA would continue to advocate to get the sound barriers at Rodman’s Neck constructed sooner rather than later.

“I am very happy that the mayor now recognizes that there is a problem,” said Dolensek of the range noise.

“This is something that firing ranges all across the country do…there is no reason why they cannot speed up the timetable on it.”

Another CICA board member, John Doyle, said that other mayors have made pledges on Rodman’s Neck.

Mayor Bloomberg announced in 2007 that the range would move to a new police academy being constructed in College Point, Queens, only to have that plan ultimately abandoned because of lack of funding

In June 1993, Mayor Dinkins entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the state legislature, he said, stating that the city would study sound barriers for the range.

“Until someone puts the shovel in the ground, it remains to be seen what will happen,” said Doyle.

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

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