Plans for a new police administrative building at Rodman’s Neck came soon after the news that the New York City Police Department would not reduce its use of the firing range off Pelham Bay Park.
The proposal for a new building was recently presented by the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to Community Board 10’s municipal services committee, said district manager Ken Kearns, and was approved by both the committee and the board without any significant objections.
This was primarily because operations at Rodman’s Neck are currently being run out of temporary buildings and trailers.
“The police are operating out of completely inadequate space,” said Kearns.
The new two-story gray building will include space for training and storage, he said.
“It’s a very utilitarian building,” said Kearns.
The building will replace one that was damaged in Superstorm Sandy, said board member Bob Bieder, and is being moved to comply with new flooding regulations.
The committee’s only request about the building was that it be as environmentally sustainable as possible.
The issue with the shooting range is noise complaints from nearby City Island residents, who have been pushing for years for proper sound abatement or reduced use of the firing range.
The sound of gunshots coming from the range make it difficult to use outdoor space in the summer and impacts quality of life, said longtime City Island community leader Barbara Dolensek.
“When the sound travels across the water it amplifies,” said Dolensek. “It’s just really unpleasant.”
And although Dolensek has no problem with the plans for a new police building, she was upset to hear the news in December that the police department would not be significantly reducing the use of the firing range.
After constant pleas to the city to do something about the noise, including a lawsuit in the mid-90s, City Island residents were told in 2009 that the majority of the firing range’s operation would be moved when a new police academy opened in Queens.
At a meeting with precinct community council members in December, in response to a question from a City Island resident, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said that would no longer be the case.
Bratton said a lack of City Council funding was the reason operations would not be moving, but local Councilman James Vacca said the allocations of those funds were not up to the council.
Vacca said the people of City Island deserve a better explanation, and he now questions whether the department ever intended to close the firing range.
“I am very disappointed,” said Vacca.