Cordova Shooting Center Slated to Close
Amid controversy and a packed room, the Cordova Recreation and Park District (CRPD) this week held a public meeting regarding the fate of the Cordova Shooting Center. The range has been open with its current lease since 1979. Budgetary, environmental and social concerns have led the CRPD staff to recommend closure of the facility to its Board of Directors.
A May 17, 2017 report states, “Staff recommends that the Board of Directors authorize the District Administer to notify Marksmanship Consultants, Inc. that the District will not extend the term of the current Concessionaire Services Agreement beyond the term stated in the agreement of June, 2018.”
With a six-month deadline of notification looming, the CRPD Board voted Monday night to continue the issue at their July meeting. Marksmanship Consultants, Inc., which operates the range, notified CRPD that funding would be needed to bring the current facility up to federal health and safety codes for the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as required.
In addition to accessibility upgrades, the Board is facing other hot button questions relating to lead abatement at the site and the financial requirements needed to keep the facility open. A 2014 estimate commissioned by the CRPD Board put forth a $2 million price tag for the necessary upgrades, which included adding a rangemaster building along with ADA-compliant restroom and parking facilities.
Marksmanship Consultants, Inc. has reported an annual average of approximately $183,000 in revenue income for the CRPD, yielding a ten-year window for recouping upgrading costs. The Board must weigh this with all its other projects to determine how it can best serve the community’s needs. The recent development along the area of South Sunrise Boulevard, where the Cordova Shooting Center has been since 1979, has called into question the viability of the range’s location.
Gun control and local policy are part of the puzzle the CRPD Board must wrestle with. Proponents, such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), stated publicly that they would rather work with government agencies and the public on safety and education, than see the total loss and closure of the Center. In an area already having been subject of environmental clean-up efforts, the range originally essentially bordered Mather Air Force Base, arguably useful for military personnel. “This recreation activity is no longer financially feasible,” according to the CRPD’s May staff report.
The Center has expanded through the years to offer rifle and pistol, as well as trap and skeet shooting. It also provides some revenue via retail sales. The current agreement states that any major infrastructure repairs over $1,500 are the responsibility of the CRPD.
The May report also contends that the CRPD is in need of an overall plan for the park district’s future concerning all sites and facilities. Referring to other “high-priority” projects like the longstanding need for repairs to the Cordova Community Pool, the Cordova Shooting Center and the CRPD are looking at some very tough decisions in the upcoming weeks.