Residents want to keep Clear Creek Camp public | NevadaAppeal.com

Residents want to keep Clear Creek Camp public

Amanda Hammon

Residents made it clear Thursday they support efforts to keep Clear Creek Youth Camp in public control.

Carson City supervisors voted Thursday to support the state’s efforts to keep the camp public, especially for use by youth. With the resolution, Carson shows support for the state’s plans, but also hopes to be involved in the decisions regarding a resource unique to Nevada and Carson City.

The youth camp at the end of Old Clear Creek Road is under the stewardship of the state Buildings and Grounds Division. A plan awaiting consideration by Gov. Kenny Guinn would transfer the maintenance and marketing of the site to the state Parks Division.

“I can tell you from experience their roles are very different,” Supervisor Jon Plank said. “(The camp) is a burden to buildings and grounds. It probably fits more into state parks’ scheme of operations than it does buildings and grounds.”

Danny Coyle, representing the Sierra Sundowner Sertoma Club, said the group, which sponsors a camp for hearing and speech impaired youth, supported the concept.

“We can’t stress strongly enough that it has to be preserved for all youth groups,” Coyle said. “We’re opposed to the Clear Creek Youth Camp being controlled by any one group.”

The camp, while an asset to the state, is not a money-making proposition. A budget of about $200,000 is supported 60 percent by user fees and 40 percent by the state. The budget allows only for maintenance of the site, while improvements to the site have gone unfunded.

The state’s other alternatives for the site include bidding for someone to run the camp or to sell it. For the past six years, boy’s school Right of Passage has leased part of the facility, and ROP officials told city supervisors they wanted to see the camp remain in public control as well.

Residents in the area are opposed to the camp becoming a permanent home to groups like ROP or any other private group. Resident Dixie Busch said she thought of the camp as an investment in the future of youth but said it suffered from lack of promotion.

“There are people who’ve lived in Carson City all their lives who don’t know its there,” Busch said. “We want the camp to be kept for the youth of this state.”

Estimates show it could take between $500,000 and $3 million to bring the facility, built by the federal government in 1969 as a Job Corps center, up to date. The camp consists of about 15 buildings including dormitories, a gym, cafeteria and classrooms. It is used by over 30 groups year round.

City and state officials believe transferring the camp to the state Parks Division would allow for more marketing of the site to draw more groups.

— In other business, supervisors acting as the Redevelopment Authority voted to add 20 years to Carson City’s redevelopment district. The district created in 1986 had a 25-year life span, but recent state legislation allowed for the addition of 15 extra years to the normal 30-year life span allowed.

If the supervisors approve the plan, Carson City’s downtown will be in a state of redevelopment until 2031.

Adding years will allow the authority to continue economic development and perhaps find more funding by refinancing their bonds.

“It’s already been 10 years and we haven’t completed what we’d like to,” Redevelopment Director Rob Joiner. “This will give us some breathing room to pay off the bonds and create a little more incentive money.”

The district funds several of its programs and its $220,000 bond payments through a tax increment fund. For example, if a property was valued at $500 in 1986 and and the property owner paid $5 in taxes, the city collected the tax for its general fund. If the next year the value jumped to $600 and the property owner paid $6 in taxes, the city kept the $5, and the redevelopment district received $1.

The school district is one entity affected by the redevelopment district, as increased property taxes flowing from the district don’t head to school district coffers.

“We support redevelopment,” said Jim Parry, school district superintendent. “But when you make these decisions let us know about the long-term impacts to the school district.”