Barnstable Town Council to Get Update on Shooting Range

507511077BARNSTABLE – The Barnstable Town Council will get an update Thursday on the latest developments regarding the West Barnstable Shooting Range.

Assistant Town Manager Mark Ells will discuss dealings with the state and survey results from past users of the facility.

“No one has said that we will not reopen the range at this point,” Ells said. “It’ll come down to the environmental cleanup and the economics of it at the end.”

The presentation will include discussions between the town and Robert O’Connor with the state’s division of conservation services regarding the land swap.

State environmental officials were set to approve a 16-acre land swap to allow the shooting range area to be taken out of conservation status. That status was going to go instead to land off Breed’s Hill Road near the town’s industrial park.

But then the town began looking into the extent of lead contamination in the shooting range area and discovered it extended to 27 acres.

Barnstable Director of Department of Public Works Dan Santos will then provide details on discussions with the DEP and groundwater assessments from the property.

Town council members voted unanimously in October to spend $35,000 to dig three monitoring wells at the range to see how deep the contamination goes and whether it has hit groundwater.

The town has sent out more than 2,000 surveys to past users of the range to see if they would still be interested in using the facility if the prices go up. The council is considering raising the prices to help cover the cost of the clean-up.

The results of those surveys will also be discussed.

The town closed the shooting range down in December 2012 after the town’s insurance company realized the range was not included in the town’s policy. That led to involvement by the state’s environmental officials and that’s where the matter remains.

State environmental funds were used originally to purchase the 1,100-acre West Barnstable Conservation Area and the land had been set aside for “passive” recreation, which does not include shooting ranges.

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