Panel wants to know more about railway trail before committing

A committee looking at the planning of a multi-use path near Carson City's portion of the proposed reconstruction of the Virginia & Truckee Railway route isn't ready to spend any money yet.

Members of the Open Space Advisory Committee were asked during their Monday evening meeting to recommend a $75,000 contract for Lumos and Associates to create a preliminary design and route selection, but opted not to do anything - at least for now.

"It's too soon for the board, too soon for us," said Steve Hartman, chairman of the committee.

Hartman was concerned about planning a route without the city yet having access to areas that would run through private land, either through purchase or use agreement. He and other committee members also wanted to see an overall cost projection for the trail project.

Some wondered whether they should be concerned with such a purely recreational endeavor when their focus is open space and preservation.

Other questions raised by committee members included how much access to the trail would be available for the disabled, whether nuisances and crimes now going on in the area will be addressed and whether safety issues for train riders and trail users can be equally satisfied.

While the responsibility to provide the trails rests with the Virginia & Truckee Railway commission, the city "can bring additional funds and resources" to the project, said Vern Krahn, the city's park planner.

The trail project should be of interest to the committee because the nearby Carson River is that group's "Number one priority," said Juan Guzman, the city's open space manager.

And the city believes its and residents' interests "would be better off if we take responsibility" for the trail's design, Guzman said.

Known as the Carson River Canyon Trail, its exact route still is undetermined. It would begin east of the Deer Run Road bridge, in the Carson River Canyon, and continue near the route of the planned V&T Railway. Part of the contractor's job will be to study the area and determine the most feasible routes.

Assuring that recreational access to the canyon continues also is important, Guzman said.

The city's work on a trail has to be ahead of or matching the construction of the rail.

The steam locomotive is expected to begin running a 19-mile route between Virginia City and Carson City in 2010.

In other business:

• The committee recommended creation of a program that would enhance the wetlands at Lompa Lane, west of St. Teresa's Catholic Church.

• Heard information about and commended development of a management plan that would better protect the city's open space land from fires, floods and other problems.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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