FFA plan to take over Clear Creek hits opposition | NevadaAppeal.com

FFA plan to take over Clear Creek hits opposition

by Geoff Dornan, Appeal Capitol Bureau

A plan by a nonprofit group to take over and rehabilitate the state’s Clear Creek Camp as a youth camp ran into opposition from two state officials Tuesday.

State Lands Administrator Pam Wilcox and Buildings and Grounds Administrator Mike Meizel said it would be unprecedented for the state to give away a $3 million piece of property.

Lawmakers, tired of paying more than $200,000 a year in basic maintenance costs to keep up the camp, asked for bids to take over the operation this past summer.

Nevada’s FFA, previously known as Future Farmers of America, was the only group with a viable plan for the camp in Clear Creek Canyon, promising to clean it up, rebuild the facility and open it as a youth camp for everything from schools to church groups to counseling services.

But Wilcox said she opposes the idea of giving away an asset conservatively valued at $3 million.

“It’s without precedent for us to talk about giving away a state asset to a non-public group,” she said. “In all the years I’ve been in my job, that has never happened before.”

Meizel said he too opposes giving the facility to FFA.

“The issue we have is it’s probably the worst of all years for us to recommend that someone take over the camp gratis,” Meizel said.

They told the Ways and Means Committee that with more development in the canyon, the value of the camp property will grow. One recent project will center premium homes around a golf course near the camp.

Assembly Minority Leader Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville, agreed the facility could be sold for development but said that “would be sad.”

“We’re talking about $3 million in one-shot money,” he said. “It’ll be gone. We’ll spend it like water, so let’s give them (FFA) a shot at it.”

He said if FFA fails or wants to get rid of the camp, it would revert to state ownership.

But Assemblyman Bob Beers, R-Las Vegas, said he sees the land getting more valuable.

“We may want to hang on to it for 10 years,” he said.

The state initially sought a lease, but the nonprofit group, directed at creating leadership qualities in youth, has asked for ownership in order to obtain funding necessary for improvements.

The committee took no action on the issue.