Fuji Park decision may come today

Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko said Wednesday he doesn't know what future city supervisors will choose for the Carson City Fairgrounds and Fuji Park.

"We're going to make some sort of a policy decision," he said. "From my perception, we're not going to get an absolute decision. There was a lot of criticism that the board hasn't given a policy decision, and tomorrow is the time to make that."

Masayko said he expects supervisors will have the flexibility "to direct staff one way or another and also place some conditional requirements on it if we need to." A requirement, for example, could be selling the fairgrounds only with a proper relocation site, Masayko said.

"We are certainly going to take the testimony from staff and from the advocacy groups and listen very carefully to what they're going to say," he said. "There are two sides. I know that for sure. Then we'll decide what our options are."

Development has threatened the area since the city sold about 16 acres of land across Old Clear Creek Road to Costco last year. Wal-Mart's move to the southern end has turned the old park and fairgrounds into a prime commercial location. City officials announced their intent to find a relocation site for the fairgrounds and develop at least that portion of the property.

The city's intent to develop has drawn criticism from throughout the community.

Groups fighting for the preservation of the park and fairgrounds argue:

-- Users want to stay at that location.

-- The natural setting of Clear Creek and shade trees cannot be replaced at a new location.

-- The 1996 voter-approved Quality of Life initiative promised improvements to Fuji Park and the protection of existing city open space.

-- Carson City leaders should not be in the land development business.

City officials argue:

-- The fairgrounds - not Fuji Park - is prime commercial property which the city has a small window of opportunity to develop.

-- The city faces losing $1 million in sales taxes with the loss of Wal-Mart. The city estimates that to be worth 20 city jobs or a 10 cent increase in property taxes.

-- A bigger, better fairgrounds can be built in another, unidentified location and an "upscale regional shopping and dining destination" built at the existing location.


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