Have some faith in open space | NevadaAppeal.com

Have some faith in open space

OurView

We’re starting to see the potential – and the problems – of protecting open space on Carson City’s western hills.

Taxpayers took a rather remarkable leap of faith in 1996 when they approved Question 18, the “Quality of Life” initiative that increased sales tax by a quarter-cent in order to fund parks-and-recreation improvements as well as open space.

The recreational aspects of the initiative were tangible – we have a beautiful new acquatic center, for example – but the open space arguments were always a bit vague.

We went on promise. It’s now three years later, and the promise is gradually becoming a reality.

The first piece of property that we can see, visit and consider is now on the table before the city’s open space advisory committee. In many ways, it is a perfect example of what the residents of Carson City would like to preserve. It is also illustrative of the thorny complexities that come with trying to acquire land so that it won’t be developed.

The property is on a prominent hillside above the Silver Oak golf course on the north end of Carson City. Of the 80 acres, only three acres is readily suitable for development. Right of way for the long-departed Virginia & Truckee Railroad is probably its most prominent and historically significant feature.

That right of way is the problem, too. The developable piece is within 60 to 80 feet of the V&T trail, and it’s not clear to the committee the best way to proceed to protect both the view and the trail.

We don’t have the answer either. All we can say is it was a good move for the committee to back up and take a second look at its options.

We’re talking about open space for Carson City that we want to preserve forever. Having gone on faith this far, we certainly want to get it right.