Recommendation sought for recreation center agreement |

Recommendation sought for recreation center agreement

Terri Harber
Appeal Staff Writer

An advisory panel will decide tonight whether to recommend an agreement between Carson City and Western Nevada Community College to build and operate a $20 million joint-use recreation center on the campus.

“If I’m going to have to go this way, it’s very good. It’s reasonable,” said Tom Keeton, a Parks and Recreation Commission member.

Though he’d prefer to see a new center in a location closer to the center of the city, he’s “very pleased with the situation as it exists.”

The college approached the city with the idea of partnering up. Other parts of the agreement include the college donating the land but owning the building, and the city operating it.

Word on whether the college’s share materializes might not arrive until the end of the legislative session in June.

Commissioner John Felesina, who grew up in Carson, has reservations about the location being so far to the north.

“I’ve felt all along it’s not the best place. The best place is still Mills Park,” he said.

Mills Park is a better for youth who don’t have accessibility to places other than by foot or by bicycle. Not all children have someone who can drive them to the center or have access to public transportation.

“A kid who lives on South Saliman (Road) riding his bike up to WNCC?” Felesina asked. “I have nothing against the college, but is this the right thing for Carson City?”

This preliminary plan for the recreation center on the WNCC campus plans call for a 67,000-square-feet, three-story building east of the Joe Dini Library at the end of West College Parkway. It would house a multipurpose gymnasium, indoor walking track, cardio-fitness area and a leisure pool.

The commissioners will also look at the tentative business plan for the center. The goal is to run the center as close to break-even as possible. Figures indicate the center would recoup 85 percent of its costs annually.

If the college’s share isn’t approved during this legislative session, the city could opt to build a center of its own at a different location, or wait two years and see whether the state will fund the college’s share during its 2009 session, according to Roger Moellendorf, the city’s parks director.

The commissioners balked at the idea of waiting two more years. If the money doesn’t come from the state, the commission will reevaluate the situation.

“It can’t be half now and half in two years,” Keeton also said about the college’s funding share.

JohnD Winters Centennial Park was chosen as an alternate site for a city-only center. Whether the city would move forward alone, however, is up for debate. City Manager Linda Ritter has expressed concerns about the city being able to operate a new center by itself.

Supervisors could be presented with the agreement as early as March.

If you go

WHAT: Carson City Parks and Recreation Commission meeting

WHEN: 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: Sierra Room, Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.

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