Letters to the Editor 9/16

City should put ice rink money into downtown

The city parks and recreation department at the direction of the city manager will submit an application to the board of supervisors Thursday for $262,000 to fund and operate an ice skating rink for two months beginning Nov. 27, despite the fact the city lost over $200,000 on the same venue project last year. The projected loss for this project for this winter is $135,000.

The question must be asked: What justification supports this project? The chamber of commerce and a majority of downtown businesses do not support the project, which given the testimony already provided, is flawed both in concept development and execution, a fact made public by a recent audit of downtown redevelopment.

Supervisor Robin Williamson declared it to be a hack job to be put on a shelf to be ignored, a typical response from an elected official unconcerned as to cost analysis.

As proposed, this project will cost over $4,000 a day to operate, and produce a net per day operation loss in excess of $2,500 a day. According to Supervisor Williamson, however, this is a feel good project that gives a part-time job to 30 people - her definition of an economic stimulus? Perhaps she should be reminded that our economy is in a recession.

Locally, as with every other community in Nevada, we have high unemployment, declining sales tax revenues, home foreclosures and business failures. Numerous businesses in our community are just hanging on, mine included.

The president of our chamber of commerce has suggested that any money available from redevelopment be used to fix up the downtown, making it more attractive. I quite concur. A boondoggle is defined by Webster as being "a waste of time and money.

Clark Russell

Carson Station Hotel/Casino owner

Rink provides recreational opportunity for Carsonites

In Sunday's Appeal, I read with interest the arguments against the ice rink by both Guy W. Farmer and Ross Jensen. In a nutshell, the argument is that the ice rink was not financially successful. This most certainly is a valid argument, especially in these financial times. However, what has been missed in this argument is the purpose of having a Parks and Recreation Department: Providing recreational opportunities for citizens.

According to Mr. Farmer, perhaps we shouldn't have a Parks Department at all, because it is not a "commercially viable venture." By this logic, we should close the city pool, the community theatre, Mills Park, Edmonds Sports Complex, the fairgrounds, the library - you name it. They should all be run by private investors. The fact is, none of these ventures make money, but they do provide a community service.

I certainly agree that we can improve the finances of the ice rink. It would also be beneficial and more cost effective to look for a permanent home for the rink rather than a temporary location. However, the current debate should center around if ice skating is a recreational activity that the community wants to support. According to a recent Nevada Appeal poll, over 60 percent of citizens do support it.

Sean Lehman

Carson City Parks & Recreation Commission member

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