Developer: Carson, Douglas should collaborate

Kevin Coleman said he got involved in a project to improve Fuji Park because he wanted to make his adjoining property look better.

"I just wanted to pull some weeds and now I have to make this happen," Coleman joked.

Coleman, developer of Minden Village and owner of Net Development and K&S Properties, held a meeting at the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce & Visitor's Authority Wednesday to let people know what's happening at the site of the former Bodine's restaurant and Fuji Park in Carson City.

Coleman acquired the restaurant site and trailer park located between Costco and Wal-Mart at the south end of Carson County and the north end of Douglas County and plans to build a 33,000-square-foot casino, bar and restaurant.

"But I'm not in the gaming business, I'm in the real estate business," he said. "The area has an unrestricted gaming license but my neighbor is a real eyesore."

Coleman told the group of 20 people he's prepared to improve the area but thinks it's an opportunity for the counties to work together to have a park on Highway 395.

"There is no other park zoned on Highway 395 so we should put an effort into having green space there," he said. "No one's going to donate space in the future to do a park. We just have to do something appropriately," Coleman said.

Getting it together is the first step to benefit the community.

"Abandonment of the black line between the two counties is mandatory or we're going to fail," Coleman said. "I'm committed to write a pretty large-sized check to make this happen."

Coleman presented plans to improve street frontage, move and replace barns and to create more arenas and parking for the 25-acre area that includes an outdoor arena, multipurpose barns, urban fishing pond, exhibit hall, a 4.5 acre Clear Creek stream environment zone, Civil War-era cemetery historical feature, nature walk and horse trail.

He proposed a stocked fishing pond, which is already funded by a grant from the state, improvements on the existing exposition hall and the possibility of covered arena to create more indoor space.

Coleman suggested a full-time marketing person to handle promotion of the area.

"Events like Genoa's Candy Dance are marketed," he said. "It's a benefit to relocate tourists and utilize the site to get people to come here. We should start events that people would come to every year. They would frequent all of our businesses."

Coleman said golf is a big draw in the area but there are other functions that could make Fuji Park a center of activities people will want to attend.

"Make it an outdoor event, rodeo arena," he said. "Have more long-term events on a regular basis. People spend money on horse events and are running out of places to hold them. There are people out there who are willing to stop up and pay for these services."

There is a need to create a fund for continued maintenance of the park.

"It's not at the level it should be," Coleman said. "One city can't have the grounds and generate needs without regeneration to be maintained. Carson can't fund this alone."

Coleman plans to build a one-story yet unnamed casino with a western theme on the Bodine's site. There will be 80 parking spaces under the building and an area for an additional 250 parking spaces. The plan includes the casino, bar and restaurant, but no hotel rooms.

Coleman said the completion of his casino is not contingent on the improvement of Fuji Park.

"The casino is has self-contained parking and services," Coleman said. "The casino doesn't need anything from the park but I can't let it stay the way it is. It's atrocious. (The park) is not my land to buy but want to develop it.

"It's in the charter of (Carson City) that Fuji will be a park forever. We have to get Carson and Douglas together in an joint effort to service this valley and to perpetuate growth."

He said the improvements on the park and pond could go right now.

"The money arrangement is such that the city will acquire the product and I provide the labor," said Coleman.

He said it would take 8-9 months to a maximum of one year to do the park improvements but a long-term commitment is needed to make and keep the park self-sufficient and maintained.

"It could go on today, but why do it if there's no future?" he said. "I don't want to fix it up and let it go. I know the park will be utilized but putting money out with no return is a waste of funds."

Coleman said the meeting was planting a seed and to let people know there's potential at Fuji Park.

"Create what is supposed to occur," he said. "What is beneficial is a green space park that can be fixed up and can become something used by all."


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