Sharp Park cleanup has city in duel with state

The city is gunning for the former rifle range at Sharp Park Golf Course to become a ball field or driving range but needs the state to completely remove lead-based waste on the site before that can happen.

The state Department of Toxic Substances Control has recommended “capping” the toxic portion of the site and turning it into a mound, a commonly used method to contain toxic waste. Pacifica, however, is advocating for a cleanup method that would remove the waste from the site altogether. The state’s work is scheduled to begin in August.

DTSC recommended in June thatthe contaminated soil be capped in a mound on the northern edge of the site, then covered with clean soil. But, at a recent community meeting, the city and residents advocated for a stricter cleanup that would remove the waste from the site and forgo the need for an intrusive mound in the middle of the property.

Councilman Jim Vreeland, along with his fellow council members and San Mateo County Supervisor Rich Gordon, is requesting that the cleanup allow for “unrestricted land use,” meaning the city could then turn it into a ball field or driving range. Vreeland expects a decision within the next couple weeks.

“It’s just fenced-off property with an old building and no real use applied to it,” Vreeland said. “It’s a real blight.”

The firing range operated from approximately 1952 through 1988, sending decades of lead bullets into soil banks in the middle of the site and into a hillside along the northern boundary. The range closed in 1988 after bullet casings were discovered in a residential area nearby.

The future of the former rifle range is just one piece of a larger uncertainty surrounding the future of the 146-acre Sharp Park course. San Francisco officials, who have owned and operated the course for decades, are considering closing some facilities to balance the golf budget.

The course had a roughly $117,000 deficit last fiscal year, according to figures from the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.

tramroop@examiner.com

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