City set to renew gun club lease

I am witing because I am shocked to learn that the mayor and councilors are set to approve a renewal of the Ashland Gun Club lease without thoroughly investigating the environmental effect of gun club's use of the property for the past 40 years, and without considering the financial cost of leasing this valuable property to the gun club at no cost.

It is well known that the lead used in ammunition is highly toxic to the environment, to fish, wildlife and to humans. The gun club site will eventually have to be cleaned up. What will be the cost to the residents of Ashland?

Other cities have been burdened with clean-up costs ranging from $200,000 to $4,500,000 for clean-up of lead contaminants resulting from the operation of shooting ranges on municipal land. How do we expect to pay the Ashland Gun Club site clean-up costs?

Why is the City leasing this valuable property to a special interest group at no cost, when the City is having trouble meeting its current budgeted needs, creating low-income housing and meeting many other needs of Ashland residents? Our taxes are going up while city leaders provide 66 acres of valuable land to a gun club that is contaminating the site with toxic lead. Please explain this to me!

Why has the City never investigated the environmental effects of the gun club's activity at the shooting range? And why are city leaders rushing to push the problem off for another 20 to 30 years? Why are our leaders not taking the opportunity provided by the expiration of the gun club's current lease to do a thorough examination of the environmental and financial effects of the gun club's activities?

Why rush into this lease?

There is still another year to consider these issues. Though the gun club has been lobbying the City for a new lease for several years, very little information has been provided to the general public. The primary basis expressed for entering into this lease now is to help the gun club apply for grants. This is not a fiscally responsible reason for the City to bind itself for the next 20 to 30 years.

I am opposed to renewing the gun club lease. Our elected city officials need to be good stewards of this valuable land, and responsible to the present and future tax payers of Ashland.

Gretchen Vos

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