ADA accessible park dream brought to parks, rec panel |

ADA accessible park dream brought to parks, rec panel

John Barrette

Carson City’s Parks and Recreation Commission members looked favorably Tuesday evening on a proposed $1.5 million dream playground and park project accessible to all.

Called the Wendy Robards Universal Dream Park Project, it was laid before the panel with the goal now of raising money through donations and grants, though proponents didn’t rule out a public partnership later if one proved feasible. The commission voted without dissent to give the five-year and phased-in approach a preliminary blessing.

Proponents testifying at the meeting were Wendy Robards of Dayton and Barron Lauderbach of Carson City, who said it was their dream to provide Americans with Disabilities Act play areas and park amenities for handicapped persons in wheel chairs, wounded warriors, the elderly as well as those without physical challenges. Robards said her daughter is handicapped and playgrounds don’t provide for people in wheel chairs.

“We’re a grass roots organization,” said Lauderbach, and the pair indicated they were just entering the early part of fundraising and design.

“We want to build a wonderful park,” said Robards, adding it makes sense to build it in the state’s capital city.

The commission also heard a lengthy review recounting the history of the delayed multi-purpose athletic center project, which began years ago in concept as a full-blown recreational facility that has been planned for various sites and gone through several design incarnations.

Roger Moellendorf, director of the Parks and Recreation Department, said it dropped from a major recreation building to a Big Mac, to use the slang term for the project, and more recently to a Mini-Mac. He voiced hope to bring forward later this year another downsized version for commission and Board of Supervisors consideration.

City government has $5.7 million in Quality of Life funds to spend. Moellendorf said more than $1 million already has been used getting to this stage.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Donna Curtis, a panel member who has been involved since early in the process. “Why are construction costs so high here?” She said something will get built and voiced her own hope that “it’s not just a box.”