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Open bidding for fairgrounds

Nevada Appeal editorial board

If Carson City supervisors believe there is a compelling need to sell the fairgrounds, then we believe there is a compelling need to make the process a public one.

The supervisors’ vote on Thursday sets in motion a new search for a site for a better fairgrounds, something we thought already had been done. The city’s Parks and Recreation Commission studied three sites and rejected them all, and the coalition of Fuji Park users decided they didn’t want to move.

Nevertheless, the supervisors have given city staff another 90 days to try to come up with a plan that works so the supervisors can sell off the fairgrounds acreage.

We will take their word for it that Fuji Park won’t be sold. We’ll also take their word for it that the Exhibit Hall is part of the property that won’t be sold.

But the supervisors and city staff still need to bring out in the open what plans are being discussed with developers for the fairgrounds property.

We don’t want to see a “done deal” – something many fairground supporters claim has already occurred.

We want to see public bids, formal proposals and some hard numbers on what such proposals will do for Carson City’s tax base.

Any private developer who’s not interested in making their pitch publicly can take their plans to private property. Any developer interested in acquiring or developing public property needs to go through a public process.

If the fairgrounds property is as hot for development as city officials have been telling us, we would expect to see at least half a dozen developers compete for the privilege.

Assuming another suitable site can be found for the fairgrounds – a big assumption at this point, we realize – then we expect to be invited to a public open house, like those last week hosted by the city, to view the developers’ proposals and decide whether any of them is worth a trade for the fairgrounds.