Rec center plan being mulled; neighbors voice objections

Local officials said they were happy to see the state's university system Board of Regents give the joint-use recreation center plan a place on its funding list last week, but they also plan to continue working to make it happen.

Out of 30 projects the board approved last week for funding as capital improvements, it ranked 16th and is slated to receive $8 million. The higher the ranking, the better the chances are the funding will happen.

"Right square in the middle of the pile," said Roger Moellendorf, the city's Parks and Recreation Director, of the ranking.

Carson City already plans to spend $8 million on the project, which would be situated north of Combs Canyon Road on the Western Nevada Community College campus. Any money from the state would be matching funds and would bring the budget to $16 million.

Mayor Marv Teixeira said the joint-use center is on the city's legislative agenda - which means the city will be looking to state officials for support - because "it just makes sense."

The Parks and Recreation Commission meeting was canceled Tuesday when not enough of the members arrived for a meeting to commence. Nevada Open Meeting law requires more than half of a group's members be present before taking any action. Commissioners not attending were John McKenna, John Felesina and Greg Davis. Two other seats on the board are vacant.

The four out of nine commissioners who did show up allowed residents to comment and ask questions unofficially.

The recreation center proposal, included on the agenda, came up immediately.

One resident, Bob Lytle, had a detailed list of questions about the project that focused on traffic, noise and water drainage issues that need addressing before the area is developed. He has expressed concern in the past about the plan and has referred to it as "bad news."

"We're all very concerned," he said of his neighbors. "There were six or eight of us there. And there will be more of us coming to meetings over time."

One concern of Lytle's is that the area is prone to flooding. Construction of drainage berms to help direct storm water flows away from college property and University Heights should break ground this fall. It will redirect the water toward the freeway storm water channels, according to the city's public works department.

Lytle said he believes more flood prevention work is needed before the site is safe.

"Though it's in my backyard, there are other concerns," he said.

City and college officials also said many of Lytle's concerns could be addressed through design. The project hasn't reached that point, however, Moellendorf emphasized.

The center, and the state education budget, must be approved by the 2007 state Legislature.

If the joint-use center concept falls through, JohnD Winters Centennial Park has been identified as the next viable site for a recreation center. It, however, likely would be a city-only endeavor.

"Carson City has the funds to build a center in partnership with WNCC or on our own," said Supervisor Pete Livermore, who also sits on the commission. "That's why we chose the alternative site."

The center will no doubt be included on the next parks commission agenda, but no date has been set.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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