Deer Run fairgrounds site out; city looks at Fuji Parks improvements

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Property off Deer Run Road is no longer being considered for a proposed relocation site for the fairgrounds.

"Even though the Deer Run Road site provides a very desirable location, there are too many obstacles to overcome to make it a valid, possible relocation site," wrote Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens in a March 27 letter to Carson City supervisors.

Kastens wrote half the site, which is owned by the Bureau of Land Management, is designated by the agency for public purposes while the other half is designated open space. BLM officials weren't open to developing the site as a fairgrounds, Kastens wrote, and neighbors in the Pi-on Hills area were also opposed to the idea.

While city leaders await the outcome of a public vote this fall to determine community sentiment on moving and developing the fairgrounds, city parks officials and members of the Fuji Park and Fairgrounds Users Coalition continue work to prioritize a potential relocation site for the fairgrounds.

With the Deer Run site out of the picture, sites at which to consider placing the fairgrounds are slim. State officials denied use of the Stewart Indian School, Edmonds Park seems a very unlikely candidate and a favored site north of Highway 50 East has a similar problem to the Deer Run Road site.

The county line site, as it is called, also is designated as open space and its rolling topography would be too difficult to develop. Jack Andersen, users coalition president, said that leaves available BLM-owned property off Flint Drive near the dump as the only potential site for a group of people who would prefer not to move at all.

Previously, the users group had been against the site because of seagulls at the nearby landfill. The seagulls are mostly gone now, and Andersen said the site has expansion potential.

"This is the best of what's remaining," he said. "We want to stay where we are. We never have wanted to move. But this spot will suffice if it comes down to the nitty gritty."

Andersen said the drawbacks of the site are its location by the landfill and the cost to install infrastructure to the site. If the November vote on the city's question advises officials to sell and commercially develop the fairgrounds, Andersen said his group wants to be ready with a site.

"If we don't pick something, we're out in the middle of nowhere," he said.

His group is also helping advise on improvements to Fuji Park, which are slated to start this summer.

Andersen said the group Monday prioritized two phases of improvements to Fuji Park. The first phase will include the paving of the parking lot around the exhibit hall, sprinkler system for the turf area, electrical drops and a playground with restrooms nearby. The second phase, the implementation of which is dependent on the outcome of the vote, will include an expansion of the turf area, trees, a storage area and perhaps paved parking on the park's west side.

The Parks and Recreation Commission will discuss the Fuji Park improvements at its Tuesday, April 16 meeting. City leaders have $2 million set aside for park improvements.

The future of the fairgrounds has been in limbo since the city decided to sell 18 acres of unused Fuji Park property to Costco in December 1999.

Sandwiched between Costco to the north and soon, Wal-Mart to the south, city leaders saw the fairgrounds and park as valuable commercial property. Amid public outcry, supervisors in August decide to save and improve Fuji Park and continue to market the fairgrounds.

The controversial issue came to a head Jan. 3 when, in the face of a certified, 3,400-signature petition requesting an ordinance to protect the park and fairgrounds forever, supervisors decided they needed an advisory vote on the issue. Supervisors recently appointed a committee to draft ballot language for and against selling the fairgrounds.


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