Scene in Passing: Big MAC attack? Have it your way, soon |

Scene in Passing: Big MAC attack? Have it your way, soon

John Barrette

Carson City’s Big MAC isn’t Boston’s infamous Big Dig, but the thought could run through your mind if you didn’t know better.

By now, in fact, it could flit through gray matter even if you know better. For those wondering what the MAC is, think multipurpose athletic center.

The pertinent question now has little to do with the Big Dig, so for those few wondering what that is, we’ll revisit it below. The pertinent question is this: Big MAC, Mini-MAC or backtrack to dump the MAC? The question actually might well be Big MAC or MAC lack. Doing a half-measure MAC or none at all won’t help attract outsiders to Carson City for major indoor sports tournaments.

“The mini-Mac is geared more toward community use,” said Roger Moellendorf, the Parks and Recreation Department’s director. He said a larger facility “would enhance our ability to attract tournaments” and participants’ families or friends to help commerce in the community. Director Joel Dunn of the Convention & Visitors Bureau favors a Big MAC to promote “heads in beds” for lodging, dining, gambling.

The MAC idea was among projects on a wish list when the Quality of Life initiative passed muster with city voters in 1996 to fund indoor and outdoor recreation or related purchases and building projects.

It rivals a receding mirage and chameleon at times. It has been big, featuring Olympic-sized basketball courts and a second-story walking/jogging track, and it has been more mini-mousy in size.

There is $5.7 million available from Quality of Life funding for a mini-MAC, but a Big MAC version calls for up to $8.5 million. Earlier there was a $12 million version.

City residents can weigh in Tuesday and Jan. 29 on this and other capital improvement projects at town hall meetings. Tuesday’s are at Fuji Park Exhibit Hall, first from 9-11 a.m. and later from 2-4 p.m. On Jan. 29, a third town hall at the Community Center is set for 6-8 p.m. Big MAC plans, as well as those for other improvements elsewhere, will be displayed and explained at each.

Additional financing to build the Big MAC near the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada, which is on Russell Way, if approved would be part of $15 million in bonding based on a one-eighth-of-a-penny hike in city sales tax for all the proposed projects under consideration. But whatever MAC’s size, its time either has come or gone.

It’s no Boston Big Dig, a central artery tunnel road project 25 years in the planning and execution, which cost a whopping $14.6 billion with an estimated cost overrun of 190 percent.

In Carson City, it’s fish-or-cut-bait time on the MAC. After 18 years, start it or scrap it. Waiting through a recovery for more Quality of Life money would likely escalate construction costs.