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HUNTINGTON BEACH : Councilman Takes Shot at Gun Range

April 07, 1995|DEBRA CANO

The police shooting range at Central Park came under fire this week, with a councilman suggesting that it be closed but with the police chief lobbying to keep it open.

The City Council debated the future of the shooting range and, despite the lack of a lease agreement on the facility, voted 4 to 3 to pay $4,500 for portable restrooms there.

Councilmen Tom Harman, David Sullivan and Ralph Bauer opposed spending the money.

"I think we ought to shut the whole thing down," Bauer said, adding that the range, which is operated by the Huntington Beach Police Officers Assn., has created noise problems in the area.

But Councilman Dave Garofalo said: "I'll do anything to keep it going."

Police Chief Ronald L. Lowenberg echoed the sentiment, saying that the shooting range is critical for training city officers. "We don't have alternatives," he said.

Lowenberg said the range offers police a variety of training situations and is local.

"If we had to contract out to do training, it would cost more," Lowenberg said. The city's cost to train officers at the range is $17,000 a year, he said.

The city and the police association have not agreed to a lease since a proposal was made last summer. The association wants to rebuild the range, making it safer and quieter, and offer it for public and police use. The public portion of the range is now closed.

City officials said an issue in negotiating a lease agreement is that the city wants improvements made in a timely manner.

Richard Wright, association president, said the board of directors will discuss the lease proposal at a meeting Wednesday. The association wants a resolution too, he said, and needs a long-term contract from the city to secure the money to pay for the improvements.

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