Fuji improvements top $2 million

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Funding $1.9 million in improvements to Fuji Park may have to be weighed against the expense of moving the Carson City fairgrounds.

Members of the Fuji Park Users Association, working with Carson City parks staff, came up with proposed improvements to Fuji Park that include more turf, paved parking and a playground.

City Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens said the park can be improved with about $275,000 from Quality of Life funding and the roughly $2 million set aside from last year's sale of Fuji Park land to Costco - a pot of money also figuring into discussions of the potential cost of moving the fairgrounds.

The Fuji Park price tag includes about $400,000 in street improvements, $400,000 in infrastructure improvements, including the parking and new sprinkler system and over $1 million in extra turf, new restrooms and storage areas. Further improvements such as a picnic shelter would push the costs to $2.2 million.

Fuji Park, from the Events Center west and north of Clear Creek, would be improved under a recent city plan to consider commercial development of the fairgrounds east of the Events Center and south of Clear Creek.

The Parks and Recreation Commission will discuss the improvements today, as well as as deciding on a potential new location for the fairgrounds.

Jon Knowlin, a member of the Concerned Citizens to Save Fuji Park and the Fairgrounds, said his group is concerned that the commission isn't considering staying at the current fairgrounds.

"It would be the most reasonable use of money," he said.

Kastens said by ranking a site, all parks commissioners will have done is give city supervisors an idea of where to put the fairgrounds in the event they opt to sell the fairgrounds property for commercial development.

"We're not saying we're going to relocate," Kastens said. "We're just saying in the event the board decides to relocate, here are the sites the parks and users commissions suggest, in order."

The Fuji Park Users Association decided last week to choose Stewart, although their priority is to remain at the fairgrounds. Improvements at Stewart are estimated at $6.7 million.

Parks and Recreation commissioners will have to choose between Stewart and five other sites, including three in East Carson that commissioners previously deemed unsuitable.

The second site rests along the Lyon County line on Bureau of Land Management land. Improvements to the property are estimated at $3.6 million.

The site was the preferred of three East Carson sites when commissioners decided against the sites in March. The county line site, one near Eagle Valley Golf Course and the other off Flint Drive, include a terminal for the Virginia & Truckee Railroad restoration project, event pavilion, exhibit hall, horse barns, parking, small grassy area, livestock/rodeo arena, warmup arena, parking, overflow parking and RV parking.

The work to find a fairground relocation site comes over one month after city supervisors opted to explore commercial development of the fairgrounds. Mayor Ray Masayko gave a 90-day deadline to work out options for the fairgrounds, including a suitable relocation site and a definition of potential development at the current site. The city hired a contractor to look at development of the fairgrounds.

The future of the park and fairgrounds have been in limbo since the city decided to sell 18 acres of unused Fuji Park property to Costco in December 1999. Since then, the city's plans for further development in the area has drawn criticism from various community groups.

What: Carson City Parks and Recreation meeting

When: 5:30 p.m., today

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.


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