Gun Range Options Topic for Meeting

Options for rebuilding the recently closed shooting range once used by 70 police agencies will be reviewed in a public meeting next week.

But prospects for reopening the facility remain uncertain.

A City Council subcommittee will meet at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Hall to review a 25-page report on options for the 28-year-old Central Park shooting range.

The Police Officers' Assn. had leased the building since 1972 for $1 a year. But the council voted in October not to renew the union's lease, which expired Jan. 4.

The council this week rejected an offer by the police union to operate the facility on a month-to-month basis. The union is now removing its equipment, shooting range manager Terry Orosco said.

"We're in the process of liquidating our assets," Orosco said. "This is definitely going to create a liability for the city if our officers are not being trained with live fire."

Councilman Tom Harman said the aging facility, built on a former landfill on unstable soil that leaks methane gas, is unsafe. A stray bullet that struck a nearby home a year ago is believed to have come from the shooting range.

"If you were going to go out and find the worst place in the world to locate a gun range, this would be the place," Harman said.

But police union officials say the lease was canceled as an act of political retribution for their campaign against Harman and other council incumbents last year.

Community Services Director Ron Hagan, who prepared the shooting range report, said there are no quick solutions in sight.

"There are homeowners who do not want a range there on any basis at all," Hagan said. "And you have the [National Rifle Assn.], the Police Department, the gun clubs and the criminal justice programs who are adamant that they absolutely need a place. The community is absolutely divided right down the middle."

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