Parks panel not sold on Mills Park as site of recreation center

Carson City Parks and Recreation commissioners aren't sold on Mills Park as the site of a new $6.2 million recreation center just yet.

Parks department officials and a group of commissioners last month ranked Mills Park the best out of 15 possible sites for a proposed multi-use facility. Parks director Roger Moellendorf is pushing for a final approval so he can move forward with designs for the building.

"The site is going, in large part, to determine what kind of facility we have and what kind of amenities we have in it," Meollendorf said.

But commissioners tabled the issue at Tuesday's public meeting, saying they want more information before putting up another building what many view as the city's marquee park.

"I'm going to end up supporting you on this, but not tonight," Commissioner Tom Patton told Moellendorf.

Commissioners asked for more information on parking and traffic studies done on Roop Street, a major access point to Mills Park, as well as estimates of what it would cost to build the proposed recreation center at a different location. The other top two choices for the center are Carson City's Centennial Park and a plot of land at Fifth Street and Edmonds Drive, near Eagle Valley Middle School.

Carson City Park Planner Vern Krahn said a similar recreation center would cost from $1 million to $1.5 million more at the second two locations because of the utility work that would have to be done there but already exists at Mills Park.

Commissioner John McKenna held to his earlier opposition to putting a recreation center at Mills Park.

"I don't see building more buildings in Mills Park as showing any vision as to where we want to go," McKenna said.

"I'm not convinced that destroying Mills Park is the right thing to do."

Carson City resident Gladyce Jesse agreed with McKenna. Calling Mills Park "the diamond of Carson City," she said it would be a crime to replace any of the trees and grass with steel and pavement.

But Moellendorf and some commissioners argued that any potential site would cause similar problems, while none have the benefits of Mills Park.

Being connected to the city's aquatic center will draw more visitors to the park because it would put more things to do in one spot, Moellendorf said. And staff from the pool would also work the recreation center, saving the city buckets of cash in future salaries.

The site's central location and plans to include it as a stop on a future public transit routes are also a boon for the proposed center, Moellendorf said while conceding a failure to fit more parking into the site would be a project killer.

The proposed center, which may include anything from basketball courts and weight rooms to racquetball courts, will likely be brought back before the commission next month, although commission Chairman Tom Keeton urged commissioners to speed their decision along.

"Time is passing and the price of steel goes up every half hour," he said.

The commission also passed a conceptual plan for parks in a proposed subdivision in the Racetrack Road area, providing a 3.7 acre community park be made larger.

If approved, the subdivision near the Carson City, Douglas County line would average about four homes an acre in a spot currently zoned for one-acre lots.

n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at or 881-1217.


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