Faced with the high cost of repairing the 90-year-old Dayton Community Center, Lyon County Commissioner Bob Milz proposed forming a recreation general improvement district for Dayton and Mound House.
"Sometimes when we face adversity, we should look at it as opportunity," he said.
The adversity came on Oct. 19, when the historic Dayton Community Center was ordered closed by County Manager Dennis Stark after he received a report from a structural engineer declaring it unsafe.
The cost of restoring the 90-year-old structure, located in the Comstock Historic District, is proving a challenge for the financially strapped county, and Milz said general improvement districts should be created, at least until Dayton becomes an incorporated city.
He said a Recreation GID should be created to pay for and manage restoration of the current community center and the possible construction of a new one. Funds raised by the taxes a GID could levy would also pay for the operations and maintenance for facilities.
He said between taxes and grants, the old building on Pike Street, the former Dayton High School until 1959 could be restored, a newer center that would better meet the needs of the growing community could be built and operations of the Dayton Valley Events Center could be funded.
To form the GID, Milz quoted NRS 318, which allows a board of commissioners to form a GID without a vote of the people if the GID's taxes are only 20 cents for every $100 of assessed valuation on property. If the tax is set higher than that, the issue would have to be put before the voters.
Milz said the commissioners can be ex officio trustees on the GID or a board can be elected.
He also said he would like to see a Central Lyon County Parks GID, for all the communities in Central Lyon County, from Mound House to Silver Springs. That GID could administer the park tax that builds parks and assess taxes at 20 cents per $100 of valuation to pay to operate and maintain them.
"That cost is now paid for out of the general fund," he said. "Let the people in Central Lyon County pay for their own needs."
He said the GID was the way to solve the problem of having little money for operation and maintenance of parks, even though there were funds from the park tax to actually build the parks. That money can't be used for operations or maintenance.
"It (GID) can pay for the Dayton Community Center and apply for grants, can pay for a new center and raise funds for the Dayton Valley Events Center," he said. "It would put the burden on the people receiving the service to pay for them. Why build something if you can't pay to keep it up?
Milz' proposal received support from the former parks and recreation supervisor, Jannette Hoffert, who said she would volunteer to help save the community center or start a new one. She said she had about $13,000 that could be used.
She said Central Lyon County and Dayton should pay for their own recreation centers and parks.
"It's not manna from heaven," she said. "If Dayton wants it, we have to pay for it."
Hoffert said she spent almost 20 years working at the Dayton Community Center and would chain herself to the building if that's what it took to save it.
"So many of these issues I pointed out for eight years and nothing came of it," she said. "I'm happy this report came through or we would never have known about this."
Christy McGill, executive director of Healthy Communities Coalition of Lyon and Storey Counties, which has to move its offices, also offered support, especially for the center.
"It was a central place where the community could meet," she said. "We can't afford not to have a place to meet and have that sense of community."
Commissioner LeRoy Goodman thought the idea was worth considering, but added there were others who should have input.
"We need to talk to Mound House, to the advisory council and other residents there to see if they want to be included," he said. "They may not want to be a part of any GID."
Milz responded that if residents of Mound House don't go along, they would not be able to have their own GID.
"We really need something for the kids," he said.
He also said that several people in Dayton, including McGill and some high school students, are looking at getting Dayton incorporated as a city.
There is a tentative meeting planned for Dec. 4 for preliminary discussions.
• Contact Karen Woodmansee at email@example.com or call 881-7351.