Carson City is exploring possible sites to relocate the city’s gun and rifle range.
The Range Task Force held its second meeting Thursday and the wide-ranging discussion zeroed in on if and when to move the range.
“We’ve got the landfill on one side, a housing development coming on another, canoers on the river on another,” said Bob Blackwood, the task force member in charge of looking into long-term plans for the range. “We’re in a losing situation.”
Hours at the range have been restricted since November after stray bullets were found to be reaching the landfill. Currently, three of the four shooting bays can be reserved Wednesday through Saturday by shooters using frangible ammunition, which disintegrates on impact. The range is open to the public on Sunday when the landfill is closed.
Rick Cooley, operations manager, Public Works, gave a presentation on the landfill, showing maps of where it’s currently being filled in, and said full build-out would likely take 20-25 years.
Jennifer Budge, director, Parks, Recreation and Open Space, said she’s speaking with the Bureau of Land Management about a possible lease of property north of Centennial Park. The city owns property there surrounded by BLM land and a range would require more than the city-owned portion, said Budge.
Supervisor Brad Bonkowski, a task force member, suggested also contacting Lyon County about any potential sites in Mound House which could be used for a regional range.
“We should come up with a list of possible properties,” he said.
No decision has been made to move the range. Part of the task force’s goal is to determine if the facility needs to find a new home and, if so, when to relocate.
One issue is some grant money from the Nevada Department of Wildlife for the range comes with useful life restrictions, which means the money has to be returned if the facility falls short of those designated time limits.
Budge said the range has roughly $115,000 in NDOW grant money and the longest restriction is 10 years, starting in 2018, on about $52,000 spent on the restrooms, although the restrooms might be able to be relocated with the site.
The biggest question, the task force concluded, is whether to invest a lot of money in the current site to make it safe for years to come or to focus on finding a new location.
Ideas for less expensive fixes were discussed, including filling tires with sand and building high berms out of them, that might mean the current site could be made safe while a new site is scouted.
The city is still awaiting a formal report on the range’s safety issues from the National Rifle Association, and a quote from Poggemeyer Design Group, which designed the Clark County range, on work to engineer the Carson City range.
The task force also talked about the possibility of charging fees at the range, and the future of the range safety officers at the site.
All those topics, including an item on relocating the range, will be on the agenda at the task force’s next meeting March 6.