Our View: Lessons from Costco deal

Now that the deal to sell city land to Costco for a giant warehouse store finally has come to a close, what have we learned?

In December 1999, when negotiations turned serious for the land near Fuji Park, city officials put the deal on the fastest track they could. It has still taken eight months to close the deal, and it will be several more months before people can actually shop there.

All in all, that is a fairly abbreviated timeline for such a major project. And with all the work that went into it, much of the discussions and negotiations seemed to be under a deadline pressure. As a general rule, that's not the best way to operate.

First, Carson City and Douglas County need to work closer together to plan the area along the county line that now holds Target and Home Depot, on the Douglas side, and will have Costco on the Carson side.

At the same time Carson City is struggling mightily to build a bypass around Carson Street, a bottleneck is being created a half-mile to the south.

But that's only one of the issues. As long as Carson and Douglas believe they are competing to attract businesses, they will be reluctant to form long-term strategies to serve the residents of both areas.

Carson City also needs to do a better job of considering the effects of a large development like Costco on residents, because the stress that officials put Fuji Park users through was not necessary.

Again, it took considerable effort under deadline pressure to work out a compromise that should lead to a better, more useful Fuji Park. But out of the $3.7 million the city is to receive from the sale of land to Costco, supervisors have promised only $740,000 for improvements at Fuji Park - and there's no guarantee of that.

In short, the future of Fuji Park remains up in the air while city officials finish the deal with Costco. To some people, that's no big deal. But to the people who enjoy Fuji Park and depend on it for their annual events, it's a very big deal.

We don't know where the next big project will come - north, south or east - but it shouldn't be handled in near-crisis fashion, and it shouldn't mean that we throw existing plans out the window to accommodate whomever it might be.


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