Rec. district lobbies for community center
Truckee has outgrown its community center, and the land known as the “commercial triangle” is a perfect spot for a new, 50,000-square-foot building to accommodate Truckee’s growing indoor recreation needs, say Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District (TDRPD) representatives.
The Gray’s Crossing development agreement, which goes up for final adoption Feb. 19, will make available a 13.5-acre parcel of land between state Route 89, state Route 267 and Interstate 80, if no lawsuit or referendum is filed against East West’s project (a stipulation of the agreement). The TDRPD is urging the town to re-designate the site for public use during the General Plan update meetings, making it available to house a replacement for the town’s currently overcrowded community center.
“Basically this is a 10,000-square-foot building … we are busting out at the seams,” said TDRPD General Manager Steve Randall. “There are a lot of programs that we could be offering the community, not only to kids and seniors, but to the whole community if we had the space to do those things.”
Truckee’s community center was originally a school, as evidenced by its long halls and fluorescent lighting. The building is approximately 60 years old, and parking and meeting space are limited. The center’s offices are crowded, and every room has turned into multi-purpose turnstile, with people filing in for one event just as another group leaves.
Not only is the “commercial triangle” a good spot because of its easy access to the three highways bordering the property, but a community center could also tuck almost invisibly back into the trees, Randall said. The center, complete with parking, would only take up approximately 7 acres of the land, leaving the rest of the property available for another use, such as a performing arts center, as some have suggested.
“Unless you look for it you won’t know it is there. When you’re driving by you will see trees,” Randall said.
The “commercial triangle” is also a prime location as a matter of default.
“Unfortunately within the community there just isn’t much left” Randall said.
Boardmember Marshall Lewis said, “There just aren’t that many places to go. We look at this site and say, ‘Boy this is the perfect marriage.'”
The TDRPD began lobbying for the “commercial triangle” piece only after it had reviewed another plot of land that East West Partners plans to donate to the town. The land, off Alder Drive and often referred to as the “rectangle”, has too many wetland areas and is not easy to access, the TDRPD decided.
Currently, consultants advise one of three land use designations for the “commercial triangle.” It could be designated public – which could accommodate the TDRPD’s plans – commercial because of its location near three highways, or open space recreation.
The public, during General Plan update meetings, has made it clear it supports the use of the triangle for a new community center.
Truckee Town Councilmember Ron Florian said the recent spaghetti dinner and bingo night to raise money for senior citizens, highlighted why the town should be looking at the commercial triangle as a new community center site. The fund-raiser, which sold out, could have easily attracted more people if there was a larger space to house the event, Florian said.
“It is what the community needs,” Florian said. “I am really excited about that property.”
Randall said the community center capacity of 260 has forced some larger events to go out of town to find a larger meeting space.
The recreation and park district says a 50,000-square-foot building could be built in stages, but would be large enough to accommodate a growing town into the next 15 years.
The project would be financed by mitigation fees that the district has collected (totaling about $1.5 million) and has the potential to collect (projected at $2 million to $3 million). For additional funding, the district may have to rely on the sale of the current center, and possibly a bond measure.
Town and TDPRD officials have hinted that the community center may be a perfect location for the library, if the Recreation and Park District moves.
Randall said the TDRPD has a long history of doing a lot with a little. He points to the outdoor ice rink, disc golf course and public skate park, as example of the district’s dedication to providing quality recreation in town.
“With the new community center it will just be all on us to do more new and exciting things,” he said
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