Carson City will hold three public workshops in January to answer questions and solicit comments regarding a proposed plan to implement a 1/8th-cent sales tax to help fund several infrastructure projects. The funds would help pay for a new multi-purpose athletic center, known as the “MAC,” a new animal services facility, and streetscape beautification and safety enhancements along the City’s main commercial corridors and the downtown area.
Two workshops will be held on January 21, 2014, at the Fuji Park Exhibit Hall, 701 Old Clear Creek Road, beginning at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. A third workshop will be held on January 29, 2014 at the Community Center, 851 E. William Street, beginning at 6 p.m.
The first hour of each workshop will be an open house format when citizens may meet with city staff to ask questions and learn more about individual projects. Open public comments and questions will be taken during the second hour of each workshop. Public comments will also be accepted in writing throughout the entire workshops as well as via email and regular mail for citizens not able to attend. The second hour of the January 29 workshop will be televised on ACCTV, which can be viewed through Charter Cable TV or through the ACCTV website at www.accesscarsoncity.org.
The 41,500 square foot multi-purpose athletic center has been planned for several years, but the City has lacked the funds needed to complete the project. The total athletic center project cost is approximately $8.0 to $8.5 million. The city has $5.7 million in Question 18 parks and recreation funds dedicated to the project. The proposed sales tax would fund the additional $2.3 to $2.8 million needed to complete the project.
The athletic center will have two NCAA-size basketball courts overlaid with four high school size basketball or volleyball courts, a one-tenth-mile suspended walking and jogging track, locker rooms, and administrative offices. The facilities would also accommodate indoor soccer.
“The Parks and Recreation Department has maximized the use of both city-owned and school district facilities for recreation programs and there is little room for future growth and expansion,” according to Parks and Recreation Department Director Roger Moellendorf. “The facility will help meet current recreation program demand and allow for some expansion.”
The 11,000 square foot animal services facility will replace the existing shelter, which was built in the early 1960’s and has many structural deficiencies. The new facility would increase shelter capacity and promote adoption. The existing facility can hold up to 32 dogs, 33 cats, and no “exotic” animals. The new facility would be able to accommodate up to 134 dogs, 104 cats, and seven exotics.
The new animal services facility will be constructed on city property at the existing corporate yard on Airport Road. The total facility cost is approximately $4.0 million, but private donations have already begun to be collected, primarily by the Carson Animal Services Initiative (CASI) non-profit organization, to help offset that cost.
Downtown business organizations and other businesses along the city’s commercial corridors approached the city in 2013 to explore streetscape improvements to retain and attract business to the area. The concern of businesses is that a shift of travel from the local city streets to the soon-to-completed freeway could negatively impact businesses, and the city needs to continue to attract tourists and motorists into the area.
As a result, Carson City staff developed conceptual ideas for corridor improvements. The street corridor projects would be designed to improve each corridor segment by enhancing business access, increasing safety through lighting and roadway improvements, improving pedestrian access and connectivity, adding bike lanes, and enhancing aesthetics through parkway landscaping and streetscape improvements. The improvements are intended to make the corridors more inviting to the public and thereby increase the attractiveness of the local businesses located along the corridors and increase the city’s economic vitality.
Street segments to be improved include all of Carson Street from the north freeway overpass to the future freeway connection at Spooner Junction, William Street from Carson Street to the freeway, and Highway 50 East from the freeway to the Fairview Drive / College Parkway intersection. Improvements would also occur downtown on Carson Street and on a portion of Curry Street in the downtown core.
“Similar streetscape improvement projects across the country have been proven to increase property values and taxable sales for those areas, which leads to increased revenues that help pay for city services for the entire community,” says Community Development Director Lee Plemel. “They also consistently lead to more private investment than the original public investment.”
The overall cost anticipated for all the corridors is approximately $27 million. An estimated $11 million of the sales tax revenues would be used towards all the corridor projects, including downtown, with the remainder coming from other transportation, water, sewer, and storm drain replacement improvement funds as well as grant funds. Additional public input would be sought on detailed design elements for each corridor segment prior to the projects proceeding.
According to prior sales tax cost studies conducted for the city, a one-eighth-cent sales tax increase would cost the average household approximately $12.50 per year. The sales tax would expire once the projects listed in the Plan of Expenditure approved by the city are completed and paid off.
In addition to the workshops, the Board of Supervisors will consider the matter and take public comment at its meeting on February 20, 2014, in the Community Center Sierra Room, when it considers the sales tax expenditure plan. Contact City Hall at 887-2100 or go to www.carson.org/agendas the Friday before the meeting for an agenda and an approximate time that the matter will be discussed on the agenda.
For more information or to obtain a comment form, go to www.carson.org/carsonplan2014 (#carsonplan2014) or contact the City Executive Offices at 887-2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.