City hires contractor to evaluate Koko Head shooting range amid lead concerns
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is hiring mainland consultant for the Koko Head Shooting Complex, which is facing multiple investigations after nine city workers tested positive for elevated levels of lead.
The city and the Honolulu Police Department are issuing a $55,000 emergency contract to Kramer One — a Scottsdale, Ariz. architectural and planning firm specializing in firing ranges — to evaluate and review the range, which has been closed since September.
“We will do whatever subsequent physical improvements are needed and also we have retained (Kramer) to train our staff to better manage the area,” Laura Thielen, director of the city Parks Department, told the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board Tuesday night.
The city said the contractor will begin work next month and until then, the range will likely remain closed.
But gun enthusiasts said that’s too long.
“The demand right now is for conceal carry permits to take a firing test,” said Todd Yukutake, co-founder of the Hawaii Firearms Coalition.
“I estimate there is 300-plus people that need to take that firing test every week and most of that would be at Koko Head,” Yukutake added.
- City knew for years about lead concerns at shooting range, but did little to warn workers of danger
- ‘Alarming’: Closure of Oahu’s only public shooting range sparks concerns of lead hazards
- After dodging questions, city confirms several workers at shooting range have elevated lead levels
Meanwhile, some believe risk is still too high without further safety precautions.
“The shooters ... go out and remove their targets. They are walking, shuffling through the dust in those areas that do contain lead,” said Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board member Greg Knudsen.
“Family events are held at the firing range, kids are there. Kids can be affected,” Knudsen said.
The city said none of the workers have tested for levels that would be considered extremely dangerous.
“All the workers have been reassigned to other park locations. People are fine, they’re working,” said Thielen.
“In all of the reports and media coverage, nobody has talked at all about the levels for lead poisoning,” Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board member Paige Altonn said.
“My impression was that the people and the employees had lead poisoning and they were practically dying and I know for a fact that none of that is true.”
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