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City Center Project: Residents concerned about parking at proposed library

Sandi Hoover
shoover@nevadaappeal.com

Adequate parking for a new downtown library was one of the top concerns of residents who attended Thursday’s library board meeting.

“I don’t like underground parking,” said Sandy Guaglianone. “I think it’s hazardous and dangerous. I like what we have now.”

Guaglianone said the parking lot design (prior to construction work) at the present library worked very well for the community.

Holly Van Valkenburgh said she feared there wouldn’t be enough spaces for library patrons at the proposed site.

Mike Courtney, president of P3 Development and project manager for the downtown’s City Center Project assured residents and board members that his team shared their concerns.

A controversial new 60,000-square-foot knowledge and discovery center is being proposed for downtown on a portion of eight square blocks behind the Carson Nugget between Carson and Stewart streets. The overall project would include a public plaza, retail and office space, and some residential housing.

Courtney said his group is exploring diagonal parking as well as other options, but no decisions have been made.

“We have no plans for underground parking. It’s too costly and we have a high water table,” he said, “… and we don’t anticipate any paid parking. I haven’t seen any meters here. That was my first clue.”

Freida Ford, with Friends of the Carson City Library, suggested the hotel parking lot, which is shown in the project design on the north side, could be switched so the parking is near the library and plaza instead.

Representatives from AC Martin, project designers, presented some of the goals and options for a library which would serve as a community living room with spatial variety and creative programming. Other attributes of the library would be public amenities, consideration for sustainability and staying true to the community’s climate, culture and history.

Another consideration, indoor and outdoor connectivity would include providing visual and physical access to exterior landscaping, the plaza and possible roof gardens.

Board member Maxine Nietz asked about ownership of the property on which the library would be built, and Courtney replied that those decisions had not yet been made.

“That will be part of our presentation to the citizens committee and the supervisors,” he said.

Library board member Bob Kennedy said he wanted to be sure any retail gift shop near the library didn’t compete with the Friends of the Carson City Library Bookstore.

“The gift shop would augment the library,” Courtney said.

Board member Sandy Foley said the goal of the project should not be forgotten, especially with the 300,000 visits the library logs each year.

“We want those people to come to the library and then drift into the downtown and enhance those businesses,” she said. “That would be huge in helping our whole community.”

Board member Drew Simmons said the downtown library would serve as a centerpiece, or heartbeat of Carson City.

“The heartbeat gives life to the community. This is the life force of the project,” she said.

P3 will make a follow-up presentation to the City Center Project Citizens Advisory Committee Aug. 9.