Group of residents to help shepherd Fuji Park improvements |

Group of residents to help shepherd Fuji Park improvements

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

A design group of about a half-dozen people was selected to help lead a move to improve the Carson City Fairgrounds.

Park and Recreation Department staff members this week met for the second time with residents who use the facility to discuss ways to upgrade the park.

The number of residents interested in the plan doubled since a group of about a dozen users met in December with city staff and the developer who intends to construct a casino nearby. People spilled out into the hallway during Wednesday’s meeting at the Carson City Senior Center.

Helping foot the bill for any upgrades is Kevin Coleman of Net Development Co. and K&S Properties. He plans to build a Western-themed casino on the 3.1-acre site to be vacated by Bodine’s restaurant later this month. Coleman would like to send any overflow casino parking to the fairgrounds. He has pledged up to $1 million for the additional parking spaces and to improve the fairgrounds.

Several residents worry that the city will have to raise a lot of money to create a usable facility.

“Street improvements could take a lot of the money,” said Jack Andersen, chairman of the Fuji Park Users Coalition. “Coleman could do a lot of that work.”

Coleman didn’t attend this latest gathering, but told residents at the December meeting that improving the park would prove mutually beneficial because it is currently “an eyesore.”

Residents could have a better facility while he has an attractive neighbor – an arrangement that could only help him make more money, he said.

“I think it went very well,” Andersen said afterward.

Some residents are still skeptical, however.

“I think the park should stay the way it is with the beautiful stream,” said Feather Blake, a Stagecoach resident who used to live nearby. “There’s wildlife there no nobody knows about. It’s all about money.”

Construction of 30,000-square-foot casino is expected to begin during the first quarter of 2006 and expected to take up to nine months and $10 million to complete, according to previous reports.

Coleman said earlier he would like to see the fairgrounds overhauled within the next 18 months. The Parks and Recreation Department would like to see a plan for Fuji presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission and then, the Board of Supervisors, quickly.

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