Carson City parks officials are right to be worried about parking at Mills Park as they try to figure out the best place for a new recreation center. Doubling up with the Aquatic Center is still the best option, but they can't pave over Carson's signature park in the process.
Parking already is inadequate for major events at the park, and that's been true for some time. A recreation center would add to the problem, but it's not the problem itself and shouldn't dissuade the Parks and Recreation Commission from considering placing a new rec center there.
Let's face it: A sizable chunk of the money earmarked for a new rec center is going to be spent on parking no matter where it goes. If the city also has to buy land for a new site, that's even less money available for the building.
So the commissioners have a quandary that's also an opportunity. Solving the parking problem for a new rec center means also solving the parking problem for Mills Park.
Unfortunately, the only way to go is across a busy street - Williams, Roop or Saliman. Williams would be the least desirable in the short term, because of the traffic. But it might provide a long-term, if expensive, solution because there is a large piece of undeveloped property directly across from Mills Park.
To the west, the Carson City Library provides some supplemental parking spaces, as does an office complex. Everything south is private property.
But to the east lies the most intriguing possibility - Carson High School. Many large events overflow into the high-school parking lot, which has more than enough spaces to accommodate Mills Park events.
Is it too far from the Aquatic Center (and future rec center)? Perhaps for most people. But it isn't the swimming or rec center which creates the overflow crowds. It's events that take up the whole park, like the Carson Rendezvous and the RSVP carnivals.
Remember, too, that there is a safety issue on Saliman Road every day the high school is in session. We'd rather see money intended for parking be spent on a safe and convenient link between Mills Park and Carson High. It might solve more than one problem.