Federal cuts put Carson City parks projects at-risk

Sculptor MiscHell Riley at Burning Man 2016 with her sculpture Inside the Mind of daVinci. Photograped on August 30, 2016 by Scott R. Kline at Black Rock City, NV.

Sculptor MiscHell Riley at Burning Man 2016 with her sculpture Inside the Mind of daVinci. Photograped on August 30, 2016 by Scott R. Kline at Black Rock City, NV.

Several Carson City parks projects are in limbo due to proposed federal budget cuts.

The projects include playground and disability access upgrades at Ross Gold Park, the disc golf course and safety improvements at the Carson Rifle Range on Flint Road.

All are awaiting grant money from various federal programs that are facing cuts or elimination, Jennifer Budge, executive director, Carson City Parks, Recreation and Open Space told the Parks and Recreation Commission on Tuesday.

“With numerous projects in jeopardy, this could negatively impact the city’s efforts to replace aging park infrastructure, conduct natural resource management, and provide new recreational opportunities for our citizens,” said Budge after the meeting. “In my opinion, the most devastating cut would be the elimination of the AmeriCorps VISTA program.”

The city is working with Truckee Meadows Parks Foundation to bring three AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers here to work for a year on marketing and community outreach, volunteer coordination, and a nature education program for Parks and Rec.

Future projects that could be affected, too, include improvements at the Aquatic Facility’s outdoor pool, Long Ranch Park paved trail replacements, and conservation easements and land acquisitions for open space at Old Woods Ranch, Clear Creek and along Highway 50.

The federal funds in question include Community Development Block Grants from U.S. Housing and Urban Development, the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund and the Recreational Trails Program administered by the Federal Highway Administration.

Budge also updated the commission on the department’s strategic plan and the fate of the Arlington Square ice rink.

In April, the commission discussed possible ways to raise money for the rink, which operated in the red and needed new equipment to continue. The Board of Supervisors later passed the fiscal 2018 budget without any funding for it.

“If there’s a third party willing to fund all the equipment we stand ready and willing to operate it,” said Budge.

But she said she had received only one phone call from a citizen asking about the rink and Supervisor Lori Bagwell, who is also on the commission, said she had not heard from any constituents.

At the meeting, Mark Salinas, director of Arts & Culture, unveiled the city’s first public art acquisition.

“Inside the Mind of da Vinci” is a 20-by-9 foot cement sculpture made by Carson City artist Mischell Riley.

The sculpture of Leonardo da Vinci’s head provides a look inside filled with reproductions of the artist’s varied work.

The sculpture is now installed in front of the University of Nevada Reno library and Salinas hopes to bring it to Carson City, via flatbed truck, to take part in the Nevada Day Parade and, after that, to be placed outside the Community Center at the corner of Roop and William streets.

“It’s withstood the rigors of Burning Man,” said Salinas. “I think it’s a wonderful first piece. It’s recognizable and by a Carson City artist. It has tremendous quality and beauty.”


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