Carson City citizens panel holds off on downtown design

Downtown Carson Street’s makeover design at the 60 percent stage was presented to a city government citizens’ panel Wednesday, but members bypassed acting on it.

The Redevelopment Authority Citizens Committee (RACC) learned of a few changes from the 30 percent design, but apparently wanted options to ponder, so it tabled action on recommending it to the Board of Supervisors. Mike Bennett of Loomis & Associates, Inc., who made the presentation, said the 60 percent design included stakeholders’ wish list items and would be pared in coming weeks.

“This is very normal for the design process,” said Bennett. “We’re really on a good track.” He said paring would be done, at least in part, by “value engineering” and indicated a decision point should come later.

He was responding to concerns about lack of choices, budgetary matters and a process one member said made him and colleagues feel they weren’t having much say.

As Court Cardinal put it, the concern is: “We’re really kind of rubber-stamping.”

Lori Bagwell, a committee member and city supervisor, later said part of the panel’s work is to provide a forum for citizen review and input, and she thanked Bennett for the work to date.

It was Bagwell who made the motion to table rather than have the panel make a recommendation now. Community Development Director Lee Plemel also had weighed in during the discussion.

“I’m not sure we’re at a decision point now,” he said.

Another panel later this month will get a similar presentation, said Patrick Pittenger of the Public Works Department. The Regional Transportation Committee, along with the RACC, is designated to review and provide a forum for citizen input. RACC members Wednesday were told they would get the 90 percent design in November, which seemed to imply decision points regarding a recommendation would come then.

Ronni Hannaman, RACC chairperson, said she believes citizens want a project with “wow” factor. “We need to make this as ‘wow’ as possible,” she added.

Bennett mainly covered the Carson Street portion and said before paring wish list items of stakeholders, a projection calls for $8 million on the work while $7.4 million is the spending target, so the rest of the design phase is going to find what goes in or out. Both he and Plemel said this was the normal design process and Plemel stressed no one should think matters were over budget.

In other action, panel members recommended to the Board of Supervisors priorities for future spending of undesignated Redevelopment Authority money.

The top three were infrastructure upgrades on some downtown east/west streets, equipment or infrastructure for downtown events, and a downtown facade improvement program. Projections from Plemel has shown $366,730 available in Fiscal Year 2016-17, $447,081 the next fiscal year and $496,298 in FY 2018-19.


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