It looks like local entrepreneur Mike Darmody's dream of developing an eight-acre leased site for AirSoft war games in a San Clemente park isn't going to happen.
City parks commissioners declared it isn't an appropriate use of vacant land at Richard T. Steed Memorial Park. The commission's Nov. 9 opinion is to be forwarded to the City Council. Darmody says he won't pursue that proposal further. But he's not giving up.
AirSoft uses replica firearms shooting 6mm or 8mm plastic Airsoft rounds. A plan to set aside part of Richard T. Steed Memorial Park in San Clemente for AirSoft games was rejected by the city parks commission.
"We are pursuing options with much less red tape," Darmody said via e-mail. "The youth of San Clemente are playing AirSoft unsupervised in every street, back alley, empty lot or park they can – a lot like skateboarding 15 years ago. We are not down or out. We will do everything we can to find a safe place for the youth of San Clemente and surrounding areas to play AirSoft."
Darmody said he has no specific airsoft sites in mind but is prepared to look all over south Orange County. Darmody is a San Clemente resident who runs an online business, AirSoft GroundHard LLC, that sells replica airsoft guns and airsoft accessories suitable for airsoft games whose participants wear protective airsoft gear and simulate airsoft battle with small plastic airsoft rounds – sort of like paintball without the paint.