Clear Creek camp’s history
The Clear Creek center was built in the 1960s by the federal government as a Job Corps Camp.
Gov. Paul Laxalt asked the federal government to transfer it to state ownership in 1969. But it was Gov. Mike O’Callaghan who finally got the center transferred to state control in 1970. It became state property in 1988.
For years, the state used it as meeting space for community groups and organizations such at the Boy Scouts and Girls’ State. It was also used for fire crew training by the Nevada Division of Forestry and law-enforcement training.
But for the first 20 years the state had the property, lawmakers refused to put much money into it saying it was still federally owned and that Washington might take it back.
After it became state property in 1988, lawmakers still balked at putting any money into upgrading the center.
Former General Services Director Terry Sullivan said the camp never received enough funding for maintenance and repair.
“Part of the problem was that the legislators wanted it to pay for itself,” said Mike Shaughnessy, director of the camp for 16 years. “If they did that, the kids groups wouldn’t be able to afford to come up there.”
The issue came to a head this year when Gov. Jim Gibbons proposed using the center for the Nevada National Guard’s Project challenge program for teens.
That idea was quickly abandoned after Deputy Public Works Manager Evan Dale said their engineers estimated it would cost up to $11 million to rehabilitate the center and bring its buildings up to code. Lawmakers and the governor agreed it wouldn’t make sense to do that.
Ken Scarbrough of Public Works said he knows of no plans for the land at this point, although he said it would sell for a premium price to a developer if the state so decided.
Shaughnessy said the state should have purchased the adjacent land now being developed years ago and made the area into a park.
“What I don’t want to see them do is sell it and subdivide it,” he said.
– Geoff Dornan