Nugget chief Steve Neighbors confirmed Tuesday that he has commissioned a poll to help figure out how to build public support for the City Center project.
Several Nevada Appeal readers reported being called by pollsters and asked a series of questions about the $28 million City Center proposal, which would include a Knowledge + Discovery Center and a public plaza. The K+D Center has been described by backers as more than just a state-of-the-art library.
Neighbors said that he and his staff did a good job of explaining the project to the Board of Supervisors, which has generally supported the plan, but he said that in the public's eyes, "it was creating more friction than we really wanted."
Opponents have questioned the cost and scope of the controversial project.
"Based on that, we're trying to figure out how we communicate to the public," Neighbors said.
He said that through the project, the Mae Adams Foundation wants to "save the downtown area, create jobs (and) careers for your youth." As their part of the deal, the Carson Nugget and the foundation have agreed to donate the land for the project, as well as $5 million toward its cost.
Neighbors said the purpose behind the Knowledge + Discovery Center is to help downtown and the city's youth.
"I think the community doesn't understand what a knowledge center is," he said. "They think it's just a library."
He said the proposed center would help create jobs and provide training and skills for the types of jobs that the city is trying to attract while also creating a community center for Carson City. The offerings would go beyond what's available at the Carson City Library and other traditional libraries.
The Mae Adams Foundation, he said, is "trying to create something far more comprehensive. The library really is how we are going to manage that without adding additional costs to the city."
There will be two questions on the Carson City November ballot dealing with the downtown project. The supervisors last week approved the question asking voters to back a quarter-cent sales tax increase to pay for the center's estimated $28 million construction cost. That tax should generate at least $1.9 million a year to pay off the bonds.
In addition, a residents' group opposing the project plans to submit petitions today to include a question asking voters to direct supervisors to pass an ordinance barring the use of public money to build the project. Board counsel Randal Munn has cautioned the board that he believes that that question would violate state laws that set the powers of the Board of Supervisors.
Neighbors administers the Mae Adams Trust, named for the late wife of former Nugget owner Hop Adams, who owned and operated the local casino for many years with his brother Howard.