A big ‘MAC’ attack for Carson City

A $13.6 million bond issue to handle major capital projects won approval Thursday from the Carson City Board of Supervisors.

Also given the board’s blessing were a timeline for the projects, with first in line the multi-purpose athletic center (MAC) to boost gymnasium space, as well as details leading up to construction and eventual MAC use. Other projects at the top of the timeline list are the planned animal services facility and downtown streetscape improvements on Carson Street. Later would come other commercial corridor improvements and Community Center upgrades.

“The schedule has been revised a bit,” said Community Development Director Lee Plemel, noting changes were made based on previous remarks about the timeline by board members. With the MAC first, as the board urged, the target date for completion of the $8.3 million multi-gym and overhead walking/running track facility is mid-2016. The MAC would have four high school basketball courts overlaid by two collegiate courts.

Design, currently now three-fifths done, would continue through October with key decision on action in November and awarding of a contract set for the spring of 2015.

The MAC will be on Russell Way on property now owned by the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western Nevada on which the city has an option, which the board also voted Thursday to exercise. In addition, the board approved a use-sharing agreement involving the club and city that allows the BGCWN use of the MAC during hours the club operates.

In related action, the board approved an amendment to the contract with Miles Construction to handle “construction manager-at-risk” pre-construction services for the MAC, as well as a contract with Valentiner Crane Architects to provide services for architectural and engineering design work remaining. The action on Miles Construction was an extension. On Valentiner Crane, the pact was for up to $251,763.

The $13.6 million in bonding authority came in resolution form as Finance Director Nick Providenti assured Supervisor John McKenna it would be issued relatively soon. McKenna expressed concern interest rates might rise.

The board was told the debt for the projects could come at a 4.5 percent rate or lower, and $4.2 million in additional debt to cover costs for the overall package of projects would come later. Providenti said the $13.6 million is what the city can handle currently.

The MAC costs are actually apportioned between $6.1 million in Question 18 quality of life funds already in city hands and $2.2 million from the bonds, which are being issued based on revenues from the one-eighth of a penny sales tax hike the board approved earlier this year.

The animal services project, meanwhile, will cost $3.9 million with current estimates of $3.7 million of it from the city bonding and $200,000 from other sources. It will be built on Butti Way and design work will lag behind the MAC.

The board actually spent more time discussing the downtown Carson Street project, which carries an overall price tag of $8.9 million. The portion from bonding is $6.8 million with the rest from utility revenues to do accompanying water and sewer upgrades as construction proceeds.

Currently the plan envisions two lanes rather than four downtown on Carson Street, wider sidewalks and bike lanes with turn lanes and no median. Work on the changes would come in 2016, a year when the Legislature won’t be in session. Plemel said the plan is to do the work in a manner that won’t necessitate closing Carson Street. He also said the current design is a draft proposal.

Curry street changes the next year were discussed as well, with Supervisor Jim Shirk trying unsuccessfully to flip the order. He wanted Curry Street first and Carson Street later, but others said Carson Street should be done in a non-legislative year.

Among people testifying on the downtown project were Doreen Mack, founder and president of Downtown 20/20, and Garrett Lepire, businessman and property owner.

Mack, a vocal advocate of a pedestrian-friendly downtown and street parking, said she was keeping an open mind on the parking question. Lepire said the project should move forward without people casting a “condescending eye and conspiracy-theory mind” over the process by looking askance at every detail or budget item. He urged city officials to work at getting buy-in on the project.

The timeline calls for later work on the street upgrades for North and South Carson streets, as well as East William Street, and for any improvements at the Carson City Community Center. That final project is to upgrade options for cultural events there, which is the location of the Bob Boldrick Theater.

Also briefly discussed was formation of business improvement districts for downtown and the other commercial corridors, but details remained sketchy. During that discussion, Supervisor Brad Bonkowski urged both business owners and property owners to be involved in the process.


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