Gilbert sale to help finance other open-space buys |

Gilbert sale to help finance other open-space buys

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

Westside property sold to the U.S. Forest Service for more than $1 million is expected to allow Carson City to help significantly fulfill its land- acquisition wishes.

The four Gilbert parcels, each roughly 9 acres, are southeast of Kings Canyon Road on the south side of Borda Meadow.

The $1.12 million the city will make from the sale will be deposited into its open-space fund. It will finance future open-space projects in the city, said Juan Guzman, the city’s open-space manager.

On the list for acquisition is a 373-acre Serpa property along the Carson River. A second riverside purchase, near Eagle Lane and owned by William Desormier, would add 20 more acres.

A third site, 20 acres owned by Rob Potter near C Hill, also is being eyed for purchase.

Proceeds from the Gilbert sale, however, won’t be enough to finance all the acquisitions considered by the city, which are expected to total $8 million, Guzman said.

Obtained by the city in January 2003 for $740,000, the Gilbert property was purchased to protect it from development. Much of it was scorched during the Waterfall fire in 2004, though it has been slowly recovering.

Members of the Open Space Advisory Committee initially recommended the city not sell the property. They contended the city would do a better job managing the land than the Forest Service, and that the city’s open- space program should focus on buying and managing land it has purchased – not selling some parcels to obtain others that are more highly prized.

“One of the concepts established really early on,” Guzman said, was to “purchase land with the purpose of keeping it in perpetuity as open space.”

Over time, however, it was realized that other agencies had similar goals and bigger pockets than the city. This is why now, “we look at the possibility of having other agencies carry the property.

“That way, the public can still have access to it, and principles will be kept,” Guzman said.

Concern about tending the former Gilbert site was fire-related. The theory is the city could better keep up the area, and that fire danger could be mitigated, especially after the Waterfall fire, Guzman said.

The city-owned land most likely to be sold next is 62 acres near Silver Saddle Ranch, east of Prison Hill. It is a deal that “has been in the making for a while” and probably will add another $2 million or so to the budget, Guzman said.

Ash Canyon Road sustained a great deal of damage during the New Year’s weekend storms, and it is an important access route to many of the city’s open-space properties, as well as many state and federal open-space areas.

Another expenditure sought, Guzman said, is for a bridge across Mexican Ditch. There are trails on both ends of the ditch, and a bridge could connect them.

— Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.