Open space can use all the money city can get

It doesn't make much sense for Carson City to turn down more than $1 million for open space that will remain open space.

But that's the recommendation of the city's Open Space Advisory Committee. Supervisors should listen to the concerns, then go ahead and sell 40 acres off Kings Canyon Road to the U.S. Forest Service.

Maybe the committee was sending a message to the Forest Service that the federal agency doesn't do a very good job of managing areas such as the former Gilbert property, which is on the edge of the city.

But it would be an expensive message - $1.12 million - and the money could be put to good use acquiring more open space. If the Forest Service uses the money to buy land, well, that would be a good thing too. There are several parcels in the vicinity that would be good additions.

They must be weighed against the committee's own priorities, which include a prime 320-acre piece in Kings Canyon and 20 acres on C Hill.

In either case, the Open Space Advisory Committee deserves a pat on the back for its work in identifying and pursuing properties that a lot of residents probably assume is already theirs to enjoy.

Ten years ago, Carson City had no means to acquire open space. But voters approved a quarter-cent sales tax to begin building a fund that is paying off today. It took vision then to see what might happen without money to acquire open space, and it takes vision now to see all the possibilities.

Carson City continues to pursue only willing sellers. In a red-hot real-estate market, there are still owners who would be satisfied to see their land remain pasture, hillside or forest rather than a subdivision.

But it takes big money to acquire these properties. The city could use all it can get.


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