In the fall of 2009, Commerce “temporarily” closed the range based on air sampling that indicated the presence of lead nearby. About a month later, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) issued a “Notice to Comply” to Commerce regarding the range operation. The AQMD Notice to Comply alleged unresolved lead dust issues around the range, and instructed the City that it could not reopen the range until it got the District’s approval.
The Bristow Range is a unique facility. Named after one of the City’s founders, this range is a public facility that is operated by the City of Commerce’s Parks and Recreation Department. The range is located below ground in the Veterans’ Memorial Park Building, which is used for various recreational activities. Built in 1971 on top of a landfill, this building is experiencing foundational subsidence issues, which only adds to the complexity and uncertainty of the range’s future.
Comments made at the February 16 meeting indicate that the range has not had proactive management, the range has not been properly promoted, and operators have not sought governmental (or other) contract users of the range which can effectively subsidize the operating costs, or potentially even make it profitable. Only 209 residents paid to use the range in 2009. That lack of public participation is something the Council focused on during the recent meeting. Accordingly, now is the time to let the City of Commerce know that usage numbers cannot tell the whole story.
In the next month, the NRA intends to review the situation to see what, if anything, can be taken to save this Range. Usage and management issues, in addition to environmental, technical, and safety issues, will be evaluated by NRA Range Development and Protection Division staff, NRA California staff, and local grassroots activists.