Topaz Lake lease in the works |

Topaz Lake lease in the works

by Christy Chalmers

Douglas County officials are confident they’ll have final details of a long-term lease for Topaz Lake Park worked out by Labor Day.

The county commission gave tentative approval Thursday to a contract that would let the county run the park for another 25 years. Topaz Lake and the park land are owned by the Walker River Irrigation District.

The two sides earlier agreed to terms requiring the county to pay the district $25,000 a year for the first decade and $25,000 or 20 percent of the park’s gross proceeds, whichever is greater, for the remaining 15 years.

District Attorney Scott Doyle said he’s negotiating over language that would restrict competing uses at the lake, but the commissioners said they’re really not worried about competition.

“I don’t fear that. The more the merrier,” said Commissioner Bernie Curtis. “If it happens, it may only enhance our holdings.”

Doyle also noted the county’s land use rules, including its master plan and special use permit requirements, would give it some influence if a competing use is proposed.

The current lease for the park, in place since 1972, has been extended twice and is set to expire Tuesday. A temporary lease will cover the park for another year, but leaders are hopeful it can be voided in favor of the long-term lease within the next two months.

“I just hope the open hand we extend here is ratified definitely before the end of this year,” said commissioner Steve Weissinger. “I don’t want to see this go on into 2000. I think if we’re agreeing to this, there’s no reason why we can’t put this on a fast track.”

Leo Havener, general manager for the Walker River Improvement District, said he thinks his board will agree.

“I’m very comfortable saying I believe it’s going to go back to them, they’re going to be happy with it, and it will be done within 45 days,” he said.

The new lease also covers improvements to the park. Doyle said Douglas will be required to get permission from the irrigation district if it plans to demolish structures valued at more than $25,000, which could be important because Douglas has long-term plans to make significant improvements to the park.

Currently, the facility includes boat ramps, 69 camping spaces, a playground and restrooms.