City to continue to look for fairground sites

Carson City Mayor Ray Masayko said Thursday he is disappointed at the manner in which city officials approached finding a relocation site for the city's fairgrounds.

By focusing most efforts on securing the state's Stewart facility as its first choice for relocating the fairgrounds, city officials lost time identifying other suitable sites, he said.

"I'm not extremely pleased we didn't look at other sites concurrently, but that's where we are," Masayko said. "I don't know where you go from here with alternative sites. I don't know where you go with the folks from the Nevada State Fair.

"I don't' know if there is a site to relocate the fairgrounds, and if there is a site, I'm not sure you're going to find one before Nov. 5. We did the highest priority one first. I'm not pleased with how long it took us to get here. If I gave this any timeline judgment, it would take us years."

State officials recently decided against a request by city and state fair officials to lease a portion of the old Indian school for a fairgrounds, noting it would be inconsistent with the deeds under which the state received the property.

Even with the controversial fairgrounds issue up for a public advisory vote Nov. 5, several Carson supervisors said Thursday with Stewart out of the picture, they're not sure an alternative location exists.

"My number one site was always Stewart," Supervisor Pete Livermore said. "Now that that site has been eliminated, I don't see any other acceptable sites."

Supervisor Richard Staub said money for a new fairgrounds would come from a sale of the current site. With the process of that sale suspended, he said, the city has fiscal constraints.

"Until we find out what the voters want in November, we may want to be cautious," Staub said. "One thing we emphasized is we were going to look for a better site and that site needed to be found and secured before we did anything with the fairgrounds. So far, I haven't seen anything before me that would appear to be a better site. We need to stay on track. I want to be cautious because I don't want to spin our wheels when potentially this all may evaporate after Nov. 5."

City officials will continue to pursue potential fairground sites, specficially Bureau of Land Management property off Highway 50 East.

Jack Andersen, president of the Fuji Park and Fairgrounds Users Association, also asked supervisors to slow down proposed $2 million improvements to Fuji Park while awaiting the outcome of the vote.

Park users are concerned that if the city sticks to an October deadline for the improvements, there will be no money left to improve the fairgrounds if the public votes to keep it.

There was some confusion over where the October deadline came from, and Masayko insisted supervisors are not limited to the $2 million set aside for improvements from the sale of city land to Costco. He also said the group probably could make safety improvements to the fairgrounds this year.

Andersen also encouraged the city to continue its search for another fairgrounds site.

"If the vote goes the other way, we have to have a place to go," he said.

The future of the park and fairgrounds have been in limbo since the city decided to sell 18 acres of unused Fuji Park property to Costco in December 1999. Sandwiched between Costco to the north and this year, Wal-Mart to the south, city leaders saw the fairgrounds and park as valuable commercial property.

Amid public outcry, supervisors in August decide to save and improve Fuji Park and continue to market the fairgrounds. The controversial issue came to a head Jan. 3 when, in the face of a certified, 3,400-strong petition requesting an ordinance to protect the park and fairgrounds forever, supervisors decided they needed an advisory vote on the issue.


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