Overflow at Fuji Park will likely become Costco

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Land once used for overflow parking at Fuji Park will more than likely become Costco's Carson City home, even though Wal-Mart now wants in on the action.

Supervisors on Thursday approved the final step to add 15 acres of South Carson land to the city's redevelopment district. The move allows the city to deal directly with one company rather than put the city-owned land through a public bid process

In addition to adding the land to redevelopment district, supervisors received word that Costco had accepted Carson City's request for exclusive negotiations.

But other retailers are interested in the site, too. Mayor Ray Masayko read a letter at the meeting from Costco competitor Wal-Mart which expressed the company's interest in the land.

The letter stated that Wal-Mart wants to build a Sam's Club, a store similar to Costco, on the site. They asked supervisors to remember Wal-Mart's commitment as a good neighbor and Carson taxpayer in the decision.

Although he voted against the redevelopment proposition because of a philosophical issue with calling the site "blighted," Masayko noted his support for development.

"Carson City needs this store, and it needs it on this site," Masayko said. "I'll do everything from my position to make sure the users (are taken care of). When we get there, I'm going to be satisfied."

About 70 people came to Thursday's meeting, and their comments focused mainly on the future of the Carson City Fairgrounds and Fuji Park. Residents noted that while Fuji Park has always been considered a poor relation in the parks department, its actually a well-used, if underfunded, part of the park system.

Members of the Karson Krusers, who use the park for several events, have been outspoken about the need for overflow parking for large events and the potential movement of the fairgrounds. City Manager John Berkich said a meeting would be held with city and Costco officials and park users to work out concerns like parking.

Resident Loretta Marsden told supervisors she thought the process to bring Costco to Carson City had gone too fast, and that as a resident she couldn't get information fast enough.

"Costco's great, but I don't think it's our fairy god mother that will fix everything," she said.

Comments regarding Costco being "ugly and unsightly" were not considered in the decision. Because Costco plans to build a store over 50,000 square feet, Costco officials will have to deal with local planning officials on building features. The store's plans, which include a 145,000-square-foot warehouse and gas station, will appear before the Regional Planning Commission before anything will be constructed.

Berkich has been negotiating the deal with Costco and said he thought Costco's addition to the community was the "highest and best use of the land."

He added that Costco development personnel were working with city staff on site issues such as the cost of developing the site and improvements to Clear Creek Road. The land could be sold as soon as Feb. 17 for an estimated $3 million, but a public hearing will be held before the Redevelopment Authority can sell the land. At that meeting, supervisors can set stipulations on what the money from the sale of the land can be used for.


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