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Land donated for rec facilities

John A. Bayless

The boards of Truckee Sanitary District and the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District recently agreed in principle to a deal which will provide between 14 and 20 acres of land to the rec and park district for playing fields.

Geoff Stephens, chairman of the rec and park district board, said the agreement is the offshoot of a land swap which has been under discussion by the sanitary district and Tahoe-Truckee Sanitation Agency.

In the works since 1994

“Since 1994 a land swap has been in the works,” Stephens said. “The idea was to bring us in and the TSD would donate land for parks, etc. Finally, the sanitary district board members took the initiative on their own, and have donated between 14 and 20 acres that they own.”

Stephens said the land is east of the Highway 267 Bypass corridor and south of the settling ponds. The land will be leased to the rec and park district for a nominal fee.

“In the meantime, TSD and TTSA will still be negotiating a land swap,” Stephens said. “When that comes into being, TSD will consider working out an agreement for another section of land.”

All of the property under discussion is located to the west of the TSD buildings and north of the Truckee-Tahoe Airport.

“Now we are able to start master planning it,” Stephens said. “We anticipate as many multi-purpose fields as possible. If the land to the south comes to us, it will be used for picnic areas.”

The property will allow the rec district to build much-needed fields.

“I am very happy with this turn of events,” Stephens said. “We have been working on this for four years. We are just ecstatic that the TSD board has taken this action on its own. We have the land surveyed and are ready to master plan it.”

Stephens said the agreement reflects the rec and park district’s commitment to the future.

“When I got on the board, my challenge was for us to be pro-active in trying to acquire areas to prepare for the future,” he said. “We need to be preparing now. Expanding facilities is very important.”

He said the TSD property and the potential space which could become available in Planned Community 2 have him hopeful there will be enough recreation fields to keep up with Truckee’s growth.

“We are incredibly grateful to the TSD board for its action,” Stephens said. “They have recognized the need for us to start putting these projects in motion. After the land swap takes place, they have indicated they are open to working with us on that property.”

Stephens said access to the property is a concern, because Joerger is a private road, maintained by the TSD, TTSA and Teichert Aggregates.

He said the Town of Truckee and Teichert Aggregates have agreed on the level they want the road brought to before the town will accept it.

General Manager Oz Butterfield of the Truckee Sanitary District said the TSD board’s action reflects the district’s commitment to allowing public use of TSD property.

“Our board has always said that whatever land the TSD has, they would like to make it available for the use of the people of Truckee,” Butterfield said.

He said the only obstacle to the rec and park district’s use of the property is public access. Currently, access to the land is via Joerger Road, or along a road on top of the dikes which line the settling ponds, or via Ranch Way.

Butterfield said Caltrans may cut off access by means of the dikes and Ranch Way, when the Highway 267 Bypass is constructed.

“We’re still working on access,” Butterfield said. “Once that gets done we can start pushing papers.”

Sierra Sun E-mail: sun@tahoe.com

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