The Board of Supervisors spent much of its meeting Thursday discussing the fate of the 3rd Street parking lot and the Carson Farmers Market.
The board took up a recommendation from the Redevelopment Authority Citizens Committee to spend $240,000 to reconfigure the lot and remove some trees on top of $190,000 already approved to repave it. The board also considered whether to fund $50,000 in electrical upgrades and $160,000 for shade structures proposed by Carson City staff, items RACC declined to recommend for funding. The money for the entire project is coming from the Redevelopment fund.
The busy parking lot between Curry and Nevada streets is also used for the summer-long farmers market and the city is determining whether it makes sense to improve the lot to make it suitable for more events, which was the source of most of the board discussion.
“Is this red or blue?” asked Supervisor Brad Bonkowski. “Are we looking at a parking lot or an events space? I have a lot of concerns about that.”
Supervisor Stacey Giomi said there are examples of using parking lots for both, including a Las Vegas lot equipped with shade sails where First Friday, a monthly music and food festival is held.
“I think if designed right it could be both,” a parking lot and an events venue, he said.
The parking lot reconfiguration as designed currently would mean six less spaces but would reduce the entrances and exits to two each on Curry and Nevada streets and would allow drivers to circulate within the lot without exiting at the end of each row as is required now.
Dan Stucky, city engineer, said more spaces could be designed out if the city wanted to add a stage or anything else that would make it more amenable to events.
The bigger issue for hosting events, however, is shade. The project is going to remove large Siberian elm trees, which have damaged the asphalt, and replaced with trees that won’t provide the same canopy.
The board also discussed the best location for the farmers market. Supervisor Lori Bagwell said the market is constrained at the parking lot and suggested the operators consider moving to the Marv Teixeira Pavilion at Mills Park. Bonkowski suggested the Brewery Arts Center, which is creating events space on Minnesota Street between Second and King streets, to keep the market near downtown.
“I think we need to focus on downtown,” said Mayor Bob Crowell, whether its the rehabilitated 3rd Street parking lot or the BAC.
The supervisors directed staff to talk to the BAC about the potential of moving the farmers market there and then to come back to the board with an estimate for funding a consultant’s design of shade structures for both the 3rd Street parking lot and nearby McFadden Plaza before making a decision on the future of the lot.
The supervisors also approved $11,800 for a new, electronic sign for the Children’s Museum of Northern Nevada, another item recommended by RACC.
The board gave its OK to the agreement between the city and the U.S. Department of Transportation for a $7.5 million grant that is funding much of the South Carson Street road project.
Stucky said the construction contract should come before the board in February and work on the road should start Feb 17.
A $2 million purchasing agreement to buy 28 vehicles for various departments, all replacement vehicles, was also approved.