City looks near river for potential fairgrounds site

An area off Deer Run Road near Ambrose Park, shown here, is being considered as a potential relocation site for the Carson City Fairgrounds. Photo By Rick Gunn

An area off Deer Run Road near Ambrose Park, shown here, is being considered as a potential relocation site for the Carson City Fairgrounds. Photo By Rick Gunn

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Carson City officials are looking at a site off Deer Run Road near the Ambrose Nature Area as a potential relocation site for the city's fairgrounds.

While Carson City residents are expected to vote in November whether to commercially develop the fairgrounds on Old Clear Creek Road, city officials and fairground users continue to look at relocation sites in the event the vote dictates the fairgrounds have to go.

"If the vote goes the other way and and they say they want to move it, we want to be ready," said Jack Andersen, president of the Fuji Park and Fairgrounds Users Coalition. "Otherwise, we'll be sitting there with our pants down again and we won't have anywhere to go."

A conceptual plan for the site shows the roughly 30-acre site just east of Ambrose Park and the Carson River with all the amenities planned for a relocated fairgrounds including arena, barns, RV park, turf area, playground and extra parking.

Months ago when the users coalition was looking at relocation sites, the Deer Run Road site was at the top of their list. However, the cost of extending sewer and water service to the site pushed the cost of development there too high for consideration.

Andy Burnham, city development services director, said the utility department is planning to drill wells in the Pi-on Hills area in a year or two. Burnham said an interim solution for a sewer system could be worked out for around $100,000 until sewer services are extended to the area. With water service nearby, the site again became an option, said Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens.

"It can be a good site from the standpoint that it has good access from Highway 50, all the improvements, a two-lane paved road and a beautiful location next to the river," Kastens said.

The site, owned by the Bureau of Land Management, is zoned for public use, Kastens said. And it sits above the river's flood plain.

City leaders decided last year the state's Stewart Facility would be an ideal fairgrounds location. State officials denied the request, leaving city officials to reexamine two other potential sites, both off Highway 50 East. The Flint Drive site, while readily available and affordable, has been criticized because of its proximity to the city landfill. The county line site, north of Highway 50 and east of Eagle Valley Golf Course, is BLM land designated as open space and is not readily available.

Kastens said parks staff and fairground users would continue their examination of the sites.

"We have no idea what the vote is going to be," Kastens said. "We have a plan for what we're going to do if we stay; we should have a plan for if we go."

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.

Sandwiched between Costco to the north and this year, Wal-Mart to the south, city leaders saw the fairgrounds and park as valuable commercial property. Amid public outcry, supervisors in August decided 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 3,400-signature petition requesting an ordinance to protect the park and fairgrounds forever, supervisors decided they needed an advisory vote on the issue.

About $2 million in improvements to Fuji Park were slated to be finished by October, but city officials slowed the improvement process to conserve funds to help improve the fairgrounds pending the outcome of the vote.


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