Fuji Park also a home for park caretaker | NevadaAppeal.com

Fuji Park also a home for park caretaker

Amanda Hammon

Fuji Park isn’t perfect.

It’s buildings are slightly mismatched, which in some way represents the variety of events at the park and fairgrounds

But it’s a comfortable, quiet place, and for Denny Howard, Carson City Fairground and Fuji Park facility supervisor, the park is more than a park or a fairgrounds. It’s his home.

Howard is the park caretaker and coordinates events at the park as well. A brown house on the west end of the park is home to him, his wife, Sue, and three boys ages 12, 17 and 2.

Howard has lived at the park for 12 years. The length of his work days varies, because his job is to maintain the park and provide security.

Winter is a quiet time for the park, which he notes is the only park in Carson City that allows dogs. Howard speaks with pride about the park he treats like his own back yard – a busy back yard.

During the summer, he prepares for events every weekend. The fairgrounds already has an event booked for almost every weekend from April through October 2000. He pointed out that the rodeo arena is open from dusk to dawn for anyone who wants to use it.

Clear Creek passes through the middle of the park and can be fished. People passing through can use the stalls to shelter their livestock. The cavernous exhibit hall is complete with a kitchen and restrooms and is used for everything from dog and pony shows to weddings.

“People like this park,” he said. “It’s tucked away, and people don’t have to worry about other people. It’s a quiet, homey-type place. We have lots of events out here and have people daily.”

Attention has been focused on the fairgrounds, commonly called Fuji Park, since the city’s announcement that Costco wants to build a 145,000 square-foot warehouse and gas station on 15 acres of land used as overflow parking.

Howard doesn’t mind having a neighbor. If he can use their parking for his events it would be even better, he said. But he’s not fond of ideas which have surfaced lately about moving the fairgrounds.

“As long as they build us another fairgrounds, it would be fine (to move the fairgrounds),” he said. “But I hate to lose this place. There’s a lot of freedom out here, and I’ve got a lot invested in it. It’s not even like working. This is like my whole yard. I live here. I work here. I call it home. Anybody who comes out here is our company.”

Bobby Howard, 12, said he loves living at the park. Not only can he attend all the dog shows, which he particularly enjoys, he can fish in Clear Creek. And most of his friends are eager to come out and play in his huge yard, he said.

Howard admits there is a lot of work to be done at the park. Ironically, however, frequent plans to change the park keep pushing improvements aside.

“It seems like every time we get ready to do something, something comes up,” Howard said. “If we’re going to keep it, we need to put some money in it.”