Using detention basins: Simply a good idea

Simple ideas can be the best ones, especially if they don't get too complicated by all the "what ifs" of life.

Helaine Jesse's pitch to the Carson City Parks and Recreation Department this week is one of those good ideas. In essence, she said the giant detention basin near Western Nevada Community College should be used as a soccer field.

If you haven't seen this thing lately, it's beginning to take on proportions of the Grand Canyon. It serves an important function, which will be to catch runoff coming out of Vicee Canyon before it starts pouring into the streets.

It's hard to say how often that will happen. It could be three years in a row. It might happen once in 10 years. In the meantime, it's going to sit there like the big hole in the ground that it is.

Furthermore, there are going to be several more detention basins around Carson City associated with the freeway. They can be pits, or they can be parks.

There's already an example of a detention basin as playfield at Mayors Park, at the corner of Koontz Lane and Center Drive. It's nowhere near the size of the one near WNCC, but the concept is the same: Grass and not much else. (One more nice advantage of Mayors Park - dogs are allowed.)

These detention basin/fields need not be anything fancy. They shouldn't be, because they're likely to get wiped out periodically by a flood. Better there than somewhere else, and better that they have some function during the long stretches between.

If you want to see just how basic a soccer field can be, check out the west side of Seeliger School. A patch of grass, some chalk lines, two goals and a portable toilet. And it's a pretty busy place most weekends.

Yes, there will be some details to work out to turn detention basins into sports fields. But we're confident the Parks and Rec folks will be able to resolve those, especially if they keep it simple.


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