Both Stewart and Roop to get improvements

After five months of debate over whether to widen Roop Street or extend Stewart Street, Carson City transportation commissioners decided Wednesday to do both: part of Roop now and Stewart sometime in the future.

Carson City transportation commissioners Wednesday approved a plan proposed at the last minute by Transportation Chairman Jon Plank that will see part of Roop Street expanded to four lanes from Washington Street north to Winnie Lane next year while city officials will start working to obtain a church now for sale in the path of the Stewart Street extension.

Transportation commissioners voted unanimously to put the Stewart Street expansion on their priority list and to defer expansion of Roop from Fifth to Washington streets until a future, unspecified time. The Stewart extension between John and Moody streets was allotted no funding and no construction time frame. As they changed their priorities, commissioners also allotted $1 million for road improvements to Curry Street between Koontz Lane south to Clearview Drive.

Commissioners approved the Roop expansion over complaints from Roop Street residents who argue an expansion will destroy their neighborhood. Some fear children crossing the street in the area will be in even greater danger in an accident prone area. To expand the road also means limiting access to homes and the destruction of yards with years of hard work poured into them, residents said.

Most of the residents who opposed the Roop expansion live south of Washington Street. Marian Bush said if commissioners had forever dropped their plans for widening the Fifth to Washington portion of Roop "I'd go along with it." But she and her neighbors will continue to oppose the plan that "leaves you hanging," Bush said.

Teresa Watsun, whose mother lives on Roop Street, said she plans to appeal the transportation commission's decision, but whether she will have to file that with the Board of Supervisors or district court was unclear Wednesday.

"They didn't satisfy me," Watsun said. "It still leaves the possibly of widening the road and devastating homes."

Supervisor Richard Staub, also a transportation commissioner, had championed the Stewart extension over Roop Street, but said he was faced with getting nothing done on his favored project, or compromising and getting something -- a priority listing and purchase of First Christian Church at John and Stewart streets.

"I do not believe we should do this," Staub said. "I think Stewart Street is long overdue. I think it should be cut through. But I have to work as a commissioner (to) better all the community. I will provide my support with substantial reservations."

Commissioners had set aside $4 million for a Stewart or Roop project and will use around $2 million of that for the Roop improvements. The Curry Street improvements, a last minute funding addition at the request of City Manager John Berkich to help draw retailers to South Carson, will benefit from $1 million saved by phasing the Roop Street expansion, and will be completed next year. The transportation commission will bond for $5.6 million in 2004, and Fairview Drive will be widened to four lanes from Saliman Road to Carson Street.


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