Gun Range Or Community Pool: Fate Of Cordova Shooting Center Draws Heated Debate

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — Cordova Shooting Center could close next year if the Cordova Parks and Recreation District decides not to renew its lease. Residents in support of the center and opposed to it attended a special meeting on Monday to voice their opinions.

“I’ve qualified off-duty out there for almost 30 years,” said Daniel Tobin, a retired police officer. “We need this range, the nearest other range is miles away!”

The debate came down to people supporting the gun range or supporting the pools at Hagan Park.

“You wanna talk about going to the gun range once a week, that’s adorable,” said Tom Higdon, a local swim coach in Rancho Cordova. “I’m at the pool every day, twice a day. I came here today shaking with rage and I shake here now today because this is disgusting.”

“The facility has exceeded its life cycle and replacements are needed,” said Patrick Larkin, District Administrator.

Larkin presented a PowerPoint presentation to the packed room, explaining why District staff recommended that they not renew the Cordova Shooting Center’s lease. It would cost the District an estimated $2 million in safety upgrades. But the District has concluded that the money is not worth the investment.

Cordova Shooting Center is owned by the Parks District while Marksmanship Consultants takes care of its operations. Many supporters told the board that the facility is full of memories they want to preserve.

“I hope they understand how valuable for a public resource that is,” Tobin said.

Dozens showed up to defend the gun range Monday night, but others voiced their frustration over continued repairs needed at the Hagan Park pools.

“You have sat in your chairs and done nothing,” Higdon told the board. “Quite frankly, I’m sick of it.”

“She’s on the Cordova Marlin Swim Team,” said mom Erin Wilson, referring to her 8-year-old daughter. “They’ve been without a pool for a couple of years now!”

And she says the choice should be clear: $2 million would be much better spent on a new pool.

“It’s the kids, you know, we want them to be able to swim and I think that that’s a priority,” Wilson said.

While the board has another month to make a decision, both sides made their positions clear.

“You’re gonna get more and more money into the park district,” said Edward Worley, special assistant with the NRA. “It’s gonna be a cash cow for you guys!”

“The fact that there is even the slightest chance that this pool is not top priority is ridiculous,” Higdon said.

Larkin explained the options the Board will likely consider:

  1. Extending the lease
  2.  Looking for new shooting center operators
  3. Doing nothing

But if the range does close, Larkin explained that the land wouldn’t be sold to a developer. Instead, it would be used for a different park or recreation purpose.

The Board will make its final decision at the next board meeting on July 19th.

More from Macy Jenkins
Comments

One Comment

  1. So they want to Take something that IS there, and replace it with something that isn’t there, has NEVER been there, and shouldn’t be there..! Want a pool ? Go build one somewhere else !

  2. Mark Higdon says:

    Bill does not understand the options. The gun range, at the intersection of Douglas and Sunrise, about 5 miles south of downtown Rancho Cordova but across the street from a new housing development (Anatolia) and recently, a Supermarket and shopping area (Walmart, Raleys) across Douglas, due to years of deferred maintenance, will require over $2Million of property owners tax to allow it to operate beyond the current lease.

    The Hagan Park Community Pool, the original swimming facility in the heart of the Rancho Cordova Community, predating the Gun Range by at least 20 years, and within walking distance to thousands and located on the American River Bike trail, is also the victim of deferred maintenance, but is non operational (three pools out of service), with the last competition pool (home of the Lancers, Cordovas High School team and the Blue Marlins, the community swim league also over 50 years old) closing two years ago. The CRPD board announced that they would have to re-prioritize their spending to accommodate the upgrade to the shooting center, implying that it would displace what they have said, repeatedly, for going on 5 years, is their number one priority – to restore the pools in the heart of Rancho Cordova.

    While the meeting last night was to explain the options before the Board regarding the gun range, other concerned citizens who have been working with this board for over 5 years to get some movement on the pools, felt the need to voice their opinions. Mr. Higdon, a swimmer there for what should have been the last 12 years, instead spent his last years on the Lancers team commuting to Folsom, who rented their facilities to the team for practice and competition. Now a Senior Lifeguard and Swimming Coach for the Marlins, who are growing in size despite the cramped and unsuitable conditions at the last remaining pool in the CRPD jursidiction, that can hold up to 170 people in it’s confines (whereas meets often exceed that many swimmers, not including parents an fans) is rightfully disgusted in the leadership and shifting priorities of the Board, and he told them so, not just in this meeting, but in at least 5 meetings prior to this. That the Board would even consider spending money earmarked for the Pool complex – already existing, not a new facility – to upgrade a privately run, concession for gun enthusiasts only,(you can shoot there, and that’s it – lounge if you want but bring ear protection) who claims it to be a profitable enterprise (and with upgrades, some said, a “Cash Cow”) is what he found outrageous.

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