Fuji Park’s future will be determined by city officials and park users | NevadaAppeal.com

Fuji Park’s future will be determined by city officials and park users

Teya Vitu

Facing some 150 supporters of Fuji Park, city officials in casual wear Sunday quelled many concerns presented by several of the groups that use the park and fairgrounds.

Negotiations with Costco about building a store across from Fuji Park distressed many park supporters who feared losing the park with Costco’s arrival.

— No city board or commission has discussed moving Fuji Park or splitting the park’s facilities to separate locations.

— Three Carson City supervisors committed to devoting money generated from the Costco land sale to Fuji Park improvements.

— City officials said they were confident the park can co-exist with Costco. They also said maybe Fuji Park would be better off in a new location.

— Fuji Park Users Coalition members pledged to attend city meetings regarding the park’s future and to work closely with city officials. Likewise, Carson City’s elected and appointed staff welcomed the coalition’s continued input.

“We wanted to know what they had in mind. Nobody knew,” said Jack Andersen, who rekindled the dormant Fuji Park Users Coalition.

The coalition invited elected and appointed city officials to Marlette Hall at Western Nevada Community College to answer numerous questions regarding how Costco’s potential arrival could affect the park.

“I think they answered our questions very well,” Andersen said. “I think the big thing now is that we go to Board of Supervisors and Parks and Recreation Commission meetings.”

Coalition members and city officials pledged to work closer together as the city determines the future of Fuji Park. The biggest question is should revenue generated from Costco be used to improve Fuji Park or move the park to a new location.

In any case, City Manager John Berkich said community involvement will be vital every step of the way to make Fuji Park the best for all the users.

Berkich said the present Fuji Park location faces two potential futures: continuing as a park or commercial development.

“The short term is how can we coexist (with park and Costco),” Berkich said. “The long term is can we come up with something better somewhere else. That would free that land up to support a higher source of revenue.”

Park users at the meeting generally supported ideas mentioned by city officials, though a minority opposed Costco outright. Most simply want to have input regarding Fuji Park’s future:

— “What we’re missing now, I could use another 40-stall barn today,” said Bernice Dehl of the AppaHANN Appaloosa Horse Club. “In the short term, if I have more barns and more parking, I could live with the arena as it is.”

Dehl said most of the club’s shows are at the Reno Livestock Events Center but additional barns would easily bring the shows to Fuji Park.

“I’m getting judges calling me asking if they can come here. We have feedback that this is a friendly place. I wanted to say to (Parks and Recreation Director) Steve Kastens that he’s doing an excellent job.”

— “I think our biggest concern was we wanted city officials to know that a large group of people are concerned about the future of Fuji Park,” said Carl Spencer, a member of the Carson Kruzers car club. “I think we pretty much got a commitment from them that they will allow us to be involved with decision making in the future.”

— “My concern is I want to find out what’s going on. I want to hear it first hand,” Sonya Hoffman of Carson City said before the meeting. “I think Fuji Park needs a new location so we can have the state fair.”

— “I’m just curious to see what the overall concerns are and hopefully see a workable solution to the situation,” said Donna Kuester, a former parks commissioner who was involved with the Question 18 Quality of Life election campaign that produces tax revenue for parks. “I love to see people fired up. Just to see people come and fight about something that’s important to them means a lot to me.”

— “I think Costco can be looked upon as a distinct opportunity,” Jim Alexander said. “There’s a lot of ground here (at the park’s south end along the Douglas County line) that can be converted to parking.”

— “I think the encouraging thing is they are not going to sell (Fuji Park) at this time,” said Polly Holmes, vice president of the Silver Sage Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association.

The rabbit club has two events a year at the Fuji Park exhibition hall. Holmes said there is no other location in Carson City to hold those shows.

She said the meeting cleared up many concerns.

“So many rumors were floating around,” Holmes said. “They committed to spending (money from the Costco land sale) on improvements at Fuji Park.”