Carson City’s Big MAC spawns big grand opening
atching his son play on Carson City’s new multi-purpose athletic center court after the MAC opened Wednesday, Rob McFadden heaped praise on the $8.3 million facility.
“This is awesome,” said the businessman, noting he had grown up in Nevada’s capital community and Bobby, his 5-year-old boy, would enjoy something he and colleagues couldn’t when they were his age.
“We’ve needed this my entire life,” McFadden said of the center, also known as the Big MAC. The building includes nearly 40,000 square feet of space, much of it the sports courts but some of it a three-lane mezzanine walking and jogging track.
Not far from Rob and Bobby McFadden, 11-year-old Carter McWilliams cradled a pair of basketballs, one in the crook of each arm, and gave his verdict as he surveyed adults and other kids playing on the main-level maple wood courts.
“Good,” he said. “I like it.”
His analysis echoed the varied remarks of many dignitaries who preceded the chance for everyone either to play on the courts, walk the track, or both.
“This is probably the biggest Christmas present that Carson City has ever had before,” said Roger Moellendorf, city Parks and Recreation director.
Moellendorf, informal grand opening master of ceremonies, thanked virtually everyone who contributed over nearly two decades of planning, siting and re-doing the various tasks that led to Wednesday’s event.
“It has been a long, interesting journey,” he said, recounting the 19 year trek to Wednesday by recalling the Grateful Dead “Truckin” lyric: “What a long, strange trip it’s been.”
The facility, south of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada on Russell Way, was financed with $6 million in Quality of Life sales tax money accumulated over years and $2.3 million in infrastructure project sales taxes approved in 2014.
Mayor Robert Crowell called it a momentous day and a big deal before taking the first basketball shot, one that went wide of the mark. Bill Miles of Miles Construction, the general contractor, took the second shot and also missed.
During his remarks, Miles sounded a variation on the theme McFadden shared with the Nevada Appeal just a few minutes later.
Miles said he played basketball in Carson City as a youth in the small structure that now serves as the Children’s Museum on North Carson Street.
“This,” he said of the MAC, “is just a fantastic facility for everybody in Carson City.”
Like Moellendorf, the mayor praised people right and left for their contribution to making the MAC a reality. He particularly lauded those behind the Quality of Life initiative, also known as Question 18, approved by city voters in 1996.
“You cannot overstate the vision that those people had,” Crowell told the large crowd who showed for the grand opening.
Moellendorf, whose list of those deserving a thank you was long, didn’t neglect the late Supervisor Pete Livermore, who also served was Carson City’s state assemblyman. Livermore was a tireless advocate for youth sports.
The Parks and Recreation director called Livermore a man of “bulldog determination” as he praised that advocacy.
Also delivering brief remarks during the grand opening ceremony was Johnny Olivas, outgoing president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada. The city has a joint use agreement with the clubs.
After Crowell and Miles blew their shots attempting to mimic Michael Jordan, Commissioner Donna Curtis of the Parks and Recreation Commission set the pace in leading a crowd of walkers on the first official trek around the mezzanine track.
As the Curtis group did that, Donna Inversin of Muscle Powered, the Carson City walking and biking advocacy group, said on the court below she looks forward to using the track over time.
She said she will lead Parks and Recreation Easy Walk program participants on the MAC track during Tuesday mornings that are marred by inclement weather.
“I’ve already told my group there will be no more rain days,” said Inversin, president of Muscle Powered.