Carson City and WNCC to plan for joint-use recreation center
Appeal Staff Writer
Members of the Carson City Parks and Recreation Commission would like to see the concept of a joint-use recreation center on the campus of Western Nevada Community College pursued further.
The commissioners on Tuesday evening allowed city staff to continue working with the college to determine whether a city-college arrangement can be created – at least until it becomes clearer whether the state university system will be able to provide adequate funding.
The next hurdle comes late next week when the Board of Regents of the University and Community College System of Nevada meets. One of the things it will do is finalize its spending list, according to Helaine Jesse, WNCC’s vice president of institutional advancement.
WNCC officials have shown interest in providing a dollar-for-dollar match with the city to construct a recreation center on school property north of Combs Canyon Road.
A combined city-WNCC budget for a joint-use center could reach at least $16 million, according to Roger Moellendorf, director of the Parks and Recreation Department.
What city staff plans to do next is identify the college’s needs and figure out how the needs of both entities “meld,” develop a conceptual plan, and create a joint partnership agreement, he said.
“We’re very excited about the potential,” Jesse said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity.”
Long-time resident Richard Walton worries the city might eventually lose control of the facility if WNCC grows significantly or ends up a four-year institution.
The city could end up “as outsiders looking in,” he warned.
Walton also wonders what families might do if recreation and sports programs are divvied up between the current community center next to Mills Park and a WNCC center. For example, one child might need to be taken to one facility, while the other must be dropped off at the other, he said.
Bob Lytle lives near the proposed WNCC site. He is concerned that it would bring an array of problems, such as noise and traffic, and be in a flood-prone area that isn’t highly accessible.
“How are you going to get people in and out of there?” he asked.
Some commissioners wanted to be sure there was a back-up plan in case the college’s funding wasn’t delivered or an operations agreement couldn’t be reached. Another concern was that a long wait would increase the cost to build because of rising prices for construction materials.
Other sites being considered for a recreation facility are Mills Park, the Edmonds Sports Complex, JohnD Winters Centennial Park and property at Arrowhead Drive and Goni Road.
The issue will be considered for approval by the Board of Supervisors in April. Whether the college’s share of the money likely will materialize should be known by midsummer, Jesse said.
— Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber @nevadaappeal.com or 882-2111, ext. 215.