$20M Truckee recreation and park bond support uncertain
November 16, 2010
TRUCKEE, Calif. andamp;#8212; The controversial $20 million bond measure to fund an aquatics center, performing arts center and new trails remains in flux amid a lack of confidence by supporters who are unsure voters would approve it if asked now.After hearing an outcry from bond supporters for more research, the Truckee-Donner Recreation andamp; Park District board of directors last Thursday unanimously decided to again seek consultant services to understand if another survey is needed to predict voter reaction.In a Friday interview, board director Peter Werbel said he saw the decision as unifying one, in that stakeholder groups (aquatics, performing arts and trails) were able to come to an agreement to further pursue the bond in its current format.The bond, as written, would provide a $12.5 million aquatic center, a $6.5 million performing arts center and about $8 million for Legacy Trail, Tahoe Donner Connector Trail and Brockway Trail completion andamp;#8212; a total of $27 million, with the additional $7 million coming from leftover funds from the recently built community center.andamp;#8220;There was a consensus to go forward between the two groups, to talk with (the consultant) to see if he thinks that it will fly,andamp;#8221; Werbel said.Charles Heath, a principal consultant with San Francisco firm TBWB Strategies, who was hired by TDRPD previously to research voter approval through a survey, will visit Truckee in early December to give his advice. Werbel said.At the districtandamp;#8217;s Nov. 9 bond workshop, stakeholder groups werenandamp;#8217;t sure the current format would appeal to voters, with some saying putting trails, theater and aquatics facilities on the same bond could discourage voters from approving it for lack of transparency.andamp;#8220;I donandamp;#8217;t see a consensus at this point for all of these facilities,andamp;#8221; District General Manager Steve Randall said during the workshop.Randall said homes assessed at $300,000 andamp;#8212; the average assessed home value in the district andamp;#8212; would pay $50.19 into the bond over the next 30 years.Werbel said that time could be reduced if the approximately 10,000 homes within the district increases over the 30-year time span.Randall estimated an additional survey, should it be needed, to cost $15,000-$20,000.The previous survey cost roughly $20,000-$25,000, said board member Kevin Murphy; it cost more because of the number of questions needing to be analyzed. If another survey was conducted he said it would most likely cost less because fewer questions would be asked.The significant finding of the first survey indicated district residents desired new trails as their top priority followed by performing arts and aquatics facilities.At the Nov. 9 workshop, bond proponents Dan Kates, president of the Truckee Aquatics Coalition; Lauren Oandamp;#8217;Brien, president of the Arts Culture Council of Truckee-Tahoe; and Paco Lindsay, president of the Truckee Trails Foundation, made presentations explaining the projectandamp;#8217;s potential benefits.Anticipated benefits include safer pedestrian paths for commuters, a andamp;#8220;desperately neededandamp;#8221; pool replacement, aquatic therapy for the elderly, cultural and physical activities for teens, reduced erosion, healthier community members and increased town and small business revenues from locals and tourists.If the bond is agreed upon, Werbel said it would need to be ready by April in order for it to be presented to the public in a special mail-in ballot election by August 2011.