The Open Space Advisory Committee is working on ways to do more with the department’s limited resources.
“We need to be looking ahead and providing direction longer term,” said Bruce Scott, chair, at the committee’s meeting Monday. “I’d like to ask the committee to discuss the over-prioritized and over time-budgeted staff we have and what are the committee’s suggestion for priorities.”
The meeting was the committee’s first since the start of the new fiscal year and Scott said he wanted to brainstorm ideas to help free up staff time and make more progress on some goals.
“I’ve circled a number of things, but they’re not off track. We’re just not moving fast enough, which is what I want to do with this discussion,” said Scott.
Ann Bollinger, open space administrator, gave a review of the department’s current work plan and budget, which includes $37,566 carried over from the previous year’s budget for professional services.
“I did see three things I think we could use professional services for,” said Laura Fitzsimmons, committee member. “Signage, ordinances and the website.”
The committee decided to create three working groups to help determine what’s needed in those three areas and find outside services, if needed, to tackle them.
Scott and Fitzsimmons are taking on ordinances, which they will work on with the district attorney’s office.
Margie Evans asked to work on signage and Scott volunteered Gerald Massad, who was absent but had expressed interest, and Donna Inversin and Alan Welch, who was also absent, are working on the website.
“I think the website is vitally important,” said Inversin.
The committee’s main goal for the website is to make information on Carson City trails, including maps and directions, more readily available to the public.
That could include both a distinct website that bypasses the city’s main website so people can access the information more easily and a phone application.
“We need an app like Carson Connect that shows what trails we have, what people do in open space,” said Inversin. “My kids don’t use an app on a desktop anymore. They use their phone.”
The committee also directed staff to discuss with the Parks and Recreation Commission jointly funding a new position for volunteer coordinator next year.
“It can pay for itself easily. We have a piecemeal effort now,” said Jennifer Budge, parks and recreation director. “We need more boots on the ground. It would be a good investment.”
One new position, for a trails coordinator, was added this fiscal year and was expected to be filled by year end.
Fitzsimmons asked about the budget for land acquisitions, which included $537,942 carried over from 2015-2016 and $104,225 budgeted in 2016-2017.
Bollinger said the funds are already earmarked for a property exchange with Michael Fagan for 20 acres of land he owns on U.S. Highway 50 near the Clear Creek interchange and for a conservation easement on 265 acres on the north side of Highway 50 west, which is still being negotiated and may cost more than the money already set aside.
The committee also recognized Tricia Lincoln for her service on the committee from 2005 to 2015 and current member Toby Welborn who’s moving to Portland, Ore.
Welborn’s term on the committee started in 2013 and he volunteered hundreds of hours on the Eagle Valley Trails Committee, helping to map the city’s trails.