Weeds and sagebrush no more at Fernley pool

FERNLEY - Lifeguard duty at the Fernley Swimming Pool no longer includes weekend shifts of pulling weeds.

Weeds and sagebrush vanished from the 4-acre pool site in the past month.

A volunteer effort valued at $325,000 has already made inroads to surround Lyon County's only indoor public pool with lawns, sidewalks, paved parking and a covered picnic area.

"I have people around town saying the pool looks great - and it's still dirt (around the pool complex)," pool director Christina Chapin said.

Before September, four people would pull weeds for eight hours nearly every weekend but the weeds typically emerged victorious, Chapin said.

"Lifeguards would guard and rotate with me to pull weeds," she said. "The lifeguards are just as excited as I am (about the landscaping). No more weeds!"

Week-old sidewalks snake through the middle of the property, setting the parking area off from former sagebrush terrain that will sport two volleyball courts, two horseshoe pit, benches, a couple acres of lawn and a picnic gazebo.

Chapin envisions the pool grounds becoming Fernley's spot for family reunions and birthday parties.

"To find a place that is covered and outside, there's not a place like that in Fernley," Chapin said.

Some three acres of lawn around the pool will augment the existing minuscule patch that is no more than about 20-by-60 feet. A rock pond with a small cascade, built a week ago, already splashes placidly within the construction site.

Fernley developer Joe Verner donated the pond, estimating the cost at about $15,000, though Fernley Town Board member Don Parsons figures Verner's contribution at closer to $30,000.

The building community in Fernley responded en masse to the call from Parsons for volunteers and contributions to the pool cause.

"I'm not really surprised," said Verner, who has built 60 homes in Fernley with ambitions to build some 1,500 homes here in the next decade. "They are extremely decent people. These people step up all the time. A little of that is due to Mr. Parsons. He is good at administrating and arm twisting. He's a spark plug. I think he'll be our first mayor."

Fernley just now is taking the first steps in trying to incorporate as a city. Petitions are circulating in town asking if the community wants to launch the formal incorporation process.

Those petitions are due at about the same time the pool project will wrap up. Parsons expects to have all sod, grass seed, pavement and facilities in place by the end of November.

Pool beautification came about suddenly after Parsons' original plan to build a new park with volunteer efforts on Fernley's southside was shot down by the Fernley Town Board.

Putting aside his town board status, Parsons, as a private citizen, pitched beautification to the pool board and his volunteer building collective.

"I looked at the pool," Parson said. "It was a big weed patch. I was raised in Fernley. I've been here all my life. The pool itself is really a nice facility. With growth in Fernley, the opportunity is there to clean it up and finish the project."

Verner's pond was built by Gary Raines' crew at Lawns Plus. Raines is donating the sprinkler system for all the grass.

"I think it's going to show we really care and that Fernley is not just a little hick town," said Raines, adding that he had nine people put in 40 hours over five days.

Priske-Jones Development will pave the parking lot at the same time the firm lays asphalt at its newest subdivision in the High Country development adjacent to the pool.

Ed King from King Construction had crews bulldoze the 5-acre park to make way for curbs, gutters and sidewalks. American Ready Mix and Fernley Ready Mix donated the concrete, Nevada Cement supplied cement and Paiute Pit donated aggregate for concrete.

Fernley Custom Concrete's Ray Lowrey and Summerwood Homes built the sidewalks and Gopher Construction, where Parsons works, supplied base material.

Ralph Heninger of Liahona Engineering engineered the project and Denson Surveying of Yerington surveyed the property. Chain link fencing supplied by Rob MacDonald will enclose the pool property.

Reliance LLC and Fernley Electric will collaborate on parking lot lighting and Bill Carlson of CTI is testing all material.

Nevada Bell, TCI and Sierra Pacific moved their lines to make way for Hardie Lane sidewalk and Fernley Hills Development moved man-holes. Tedford Construction of Fallon supplied asphalt to repatch Hardie Lane after utility lines were relocated.

PacWest will build a storage building. Sierra West Development will erect a concrete sign announcing the pool.

Burton Components, Best Western Fernley Inn, Jackpot Station, Tucker Pharmacy and Valley Joist donated money and/or materials.

Once the improvements are completed, swim parties from schools in Fernley, Yerington, Silver Springs and Wadsworth will be able to held at the pool site.

"Now when school groups come, we will have an area to eat," Chapin said. "You don't have to load up and go somewhere else to eat."

These improvements were not part of the pool's master plan, Chapin said. Even as her father started offering the volunteer team he had assembled, Chapin did not sense an all-encompassing project.

"We didn't expect it to be everything," Chapin said. "We originally thought just sidewalk along the street. Then a lot of people started giving."


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