Carson City Fairground upgrade begins |

Carson City Fairground upgrade begins

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal Sierra Pacific workers prepare a power line for relocation at the Carson City Fairgrounds on Tuesday afternoon.

Two projects, a parking lot and an urban fishing pond, are underway to upgrade the Carson City Fairgrounds.

Grading has started on the parking lot that will be shared with the casino under construction on the old neighboring Bodine’s site. Power lines are also being relocated so the urban fishing pond can be dug.

These two projects have a budget of $2.5 million.

“The city is trying to make sure it’s cost-effective with both projects,” said Vern Krahn, the city’s park planner.

Developer Mike Pegram gave the city $1 million to build a shared parking lot on fairgrounds property. Any money remaining would offset the expense for the overall project.

The paved parking lot would have 250 spaces and be available to the casino when it requires more parking spaces than the 255 planned on the business property.

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Money left over from the construction of the parking lot will be given to the city for use on the fairgrounds project. Users of the fairgrounds, which hosts numerous organized events, have long sought improvements such as better access, parking and more amenities.

The arena will be realigned to run north-south instead of east-west. It will offer the same 1,100-person seating capacity.

Contracts will be sought for the pond work in July. Though cost for the pond ended up higher than originally expected, from $440,000 to $900,000, the city will try to make up the difference by breaking up the work into smaller pieces for contractors and continue pursuing grants.

Soil and watershed conditions at the fairgrounds make this pond site a better choice than the alternative Ross Gold Park, but some of those same conditions make the project more costly to build because the earth is more silty than originally expected.

The water ultimately will be good for the pond because it will keep recirculating and be healthier for fish and other habitat, Krahn said.

C.K. Baily, who recently won the Wayne E. Kirch Nevada Wildlife Conservation Award for his years of effort to help the city get the pond built, said he was excited to see work going on at the pond site. He’s also lobbying groups for more money for construction.

Seeing the work crews out there “made me smile,” Baily said.

These two parts of the fairgrounds could be finished in late fall, Krahn added.

The entire 14-acre site on South Carson Street is referred to as the fairgrounds, but Fuji Park comprises its west end. Longer-term work in other sections of the complex is planned but funding isn’t available right now.

For the current project areas, however, “we’re making our public-private sector partnership work,” Krahn said.

• Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.