Transportation Commission recommends purchase of church property

The Carson City Regional Transportation Commission gave the green light to begin serious negotiations with a church, the school district and four homeowners to buy land parcels the city needs to extend Stewart Street north to Roop Street.

Officials said they hope the move will start the wheels turning to provide local drivers with another north to south route through the city.

If all goes well, the city could begin construction of the connection in two to three years, said city Supervisor Richard Staub.

"This will allow us to fully and more appreciatively use Stewart Street," Staub said.

The Nevada Department of Transportation estimates 40,000 cars pass through Carson City on Carson Street on an average day. Officials consider the traffic "highly congested."

Roop Street also experiences heavy daytime traffic.

City transportation staff will begin working on a deal with the First Christian Church on John Street to buy the property with cash or a combination of cash and a land trade.

The church parcel is one that blocks Stewart Street from Moody Street, which connects to Roop Street. The church put its property on the market for $790,000 more than a year ago.

An appraisal done by the city estimated the property's value at $750,000. If the commission paid cash, it could acquire the land outright, without the approval of the city's Board of Supervisors.

The commission currently does not have the funds budgeted, but will meet in January and February to identify funding resources, said Carson Transportation Manager John Flansberg.

Staff plan to work on the memorandum of understanding and present it at the commission's January meeting. The dealings will include beginning a dialogue with the Carson City School District for its property behind the church and with a handful of landowners who would be affected.

Dr. Ken Haskins, minister at First Christian Church, said he thinks selling to the city would benefit the church. He feels the appraisal and land-exchange deal sounds fair. It would enable the church to remain in the building, leasing it from the city for two to three years until a new church can be built, he said.

The city "has been very up-front and honest with us," Haskins said. "It's a win-win deal (the city) is talking about."

"As far as I'm concerned, I think the city needs another north-south thoroughfare," he said.

The church put the property up for sale more than a year ago, intending to find another place to build a larger facility.

"It's been a good church home for us," Haskins said. "It's just that we need to move to the next stage in our growth."

The nondenominational church has as many as 500 members, 300 of whom regularly attend services.


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