Officials want in on cleanup 

Frustrated over their perceived exclusion from cleanup talks regarding the old Sharp Park rifle range, city officials are drafting a letter to the San Francisco Mayor’s Office asking for a meeting to discuss their complaints.

State officials handling the cleanup for The City’s Recreation and Parks Department, however, said Pacifica and others have been included all along.

The state’s Department of Toxic Substance Control expects to approve the cleanup plan, currently under review by agencies including San Mateo County and Pacifica, by the end of February, and the plan should go for public comment sometime in March. The site has a high concentration of lead in the soil mostly from buckshot and bullets; the department has proposed capping and isolating the contaminated soil at the site by 1.5 feet of clean soil.

"Various cleanup methods are still being considered, and nothing has been finalized yet. We’re still working with other agencies to develop a final plan," said Angela Blanchette, a DTSC spokeswoman for the project.

San Mateo County and Pacifica officials are concerned about a perennial streambed that flows west into the Laguna Salada habitat, which plays host to the threatened California red-legged frog and endangered San Francisco garter snake.

Pacifica officials say they’re being excluded from the planning process for the cleanup, which they say could affect habitat for endangered species. San Mateo County Environmental Health officials have expressed similar concerns.

"I think to leave the local government out is unacceptable," said Pacifica Councilman Jim Vreeland, worried about a potentially "quick and dirty cleanup."

"My fear is all of a sudden there’ll be bulldozers and backhoes out there and it’ll be too late," he said.

"If they feel they need to send a correspondence to the mayor, then they should," said San Francisco Recreation andPark spokeswoman, Rose Marie Dennis. Dennis said cleanup does need to occur because the site is a "very old problem."

The City has had jurisdiction over Sharp Park since the early 1900’s when the Sharp family donated it to San Francisco Recreation and Park commissioners. The six-acre site operated as a rifle range from 1952 until 1988, when it was closed after bullets were discovered in a residential area close by.

dsmith@examiner.com

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