Owen Harvey's painting, Last Light
There’s a plan for Midtown Kingston to build a gun shooting range, and on Monday, December 14th, there will be a public forum to discuss it at the Kingston Planning Board meeting at City Hall. Dr. Adam Soyer is proposing to turn his former medical office into a 15-yard, five-lane shooting range, which would rent and sell firearms and ammunition, offer instruction to novices, provide handgun and rifle shooting practice, and potentially host special events. He says there’s a need for an indoor range where people can practice shooting. The nearest one is a 100-yard, ten-lane range in Goshen. The commercial building to be converted is at 90 Prince Street, which is two blocks away from both Kingston High School and the YMCA (which offers daycare and after-school programming for young children), and two blocks from HealthAlliance hospital. It’s something that parents might want to learn more about and weigh in on.
The range would be called Safeshoot and would be equipped with high-tech security, employ certified firearms instructors, and comply with all state and federal guidelines. We might assume that the parking lot would also be equipped with security measures to protect against theft or mugging as people travel into and out of the range with their licensed guns. We might assume that the rental guns would be highly regulated as to where they could be taken within and without the building. We might assume that parents looking to teach their kids to shoot could go there. But these are all things we might go to the meeting to find out for sure.
In Saugerties, an indoor shooting range was approved despite concerns from the Planning Board because the scheduled public forum to discuss it drew no comments. The project has since lost steam as the developers became concerned with the lack of public interest.
There's renewed interest in a public discussion on gun legislation since Sheriff Van Blarcum requested on December 3rd that Ulster County's licensed handgun owners carry firearms at all times. The Kingston Planning Board's public forum won’t be the ideal venue for that discussion. The Kingston Planning Board has little jurisdiction in that capacity. But it will be a good opportunity to find out more about the plan for the shooting range and to express any concerns or ideas that people have about it. Assistant Planner Kyla Haber said that the Planning Board would like to hear from everyone, and they welcome spreading the word about the public forum. If it’s well populated, they might create a sign-up sheet and limit comments to a certain timeframe like three minutes. If the forum becomes unruly, the meeting might be rescheduled for a future date.
Public Forum to discuss the plan for a shooting range in Midtown at Kingston’s City Hall at 420 Broadway: Monday, December 14th, 6p. The forum is first on the Planning Board agenda.