Truckee community center vision clearer | SierraSun.com

Truckee community center vision clearer

Christine StanleySierra Sun

The vision for a proposed community center in Truckee is gaining clarity. The 100,546-square-foot Truckee Community and Cultural Center is moving swiftly from talk to action as the Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District readies for upcoming community surveys, the hiring of project planners, financial consultants and a bond measure slated for the spring of 2007. Until people actually get a visual picture of this, I think people have no idea of what we are envisioning, said board chairman Peter Werbel. And I think they will see that we have a pretty amazing vision here of what could be really dynamic for this community.

Phase one of the three-phase multi-use facility is set to break ground in the spring of 2007, and will be paid for by $6.5 million from the districts general fund and an additional $6 million to $7 million in grants, loans and mitigation fees, according to the district.The launching phase will provide the community with an indoor sports complex and a kitchen that will accommodate both sporting and community events such as the Truckee Follies and the Rotary Crab Feed in 23,692 feet of space, according to vice chairman Marshall Lewis.Part of phase one came down to what we have available right now. We have a swimming pool its not fantastic, but it works. We have community rooms we would like more, but they work, Werbel said. We dont have enough indoor space. The current lack of gym space for both community and school events has meant that many teams do not get to play and practice as frequently as they would like, said district general manager Steve Randall. An elevated indoor track is also proposed. Groups and clubs are fighting for indoor facilities in winter months, Randall said. The sports complex became a number-one priority to meet existing needs and future needs for community programming that we are not able to offer at this time. The sports center will be located on a 14-acre plot of land that was donated to the district by East West Partners in 2005 and has a 5-year use-it-or-lose-it legal stipulation. Twelve other locations were considered, but each failed to meet the districts numerous requirements, including ease of parking, cost and size, according to Randall.

While the first phase of the Truckee Community and Cultural Center is likely, phase two, however, presents an entirely different situation. The second phase is slated to include community rooms and office space for the district, Randall said, a portion of the overall plan that is decidedly less exciting than the first and third phases and could be a tough sell for the districts proposed bond measure.At this point, no funding has been secured for phase two, and the district is relying largely on a successful bond measure next spring to cover the projects as-of-yet undetermined cost. Its going to be tricky, but we see it as a full-on need, Lewis said. Phases two and three are not carved in stone. We might change things around if people are really going to dig into their pockets for [phase three].In the coming months, Truckee residents can expect to be surveyed about the project and the amount they would be willing to pay in a bond measure.A previous district survey conducted by True North Research and Shilts Consultants in January of 2005 found that an annual parcel assessment costing about $30 per $100,000 in assessed value was the rate that 55 percent of 795 respondents said they would be willing to pay.At this point it is unclear exactly how much money the district will need to raise from the bond.Every phase can be up-sized or down-sized and we will approach that when reality’s ugly head rears, Lewis said. But if everybody comes together and sees what can be, this community can get it done.If proper financing can be secured, Randall said that the district would like to break ground on phase two in the summer of 2008.

A full-blown aquatics complex, the third and final phase of the Truckee Community and Cultural Center, will likely be the most expensive portion of the project, according to the district.The natatorium will feature a zero-entry pool designed specifically for toddlers and seniors, two lap pools, a recreation pool, water slides and climbing wall.Were not talking about just a swimming pool. Its a place with slides, a lazy river, a safe spot for toddlers, a place where fitness classes can occur, Lewis said. Its a full-service facility where families can have a really enjoyable time.The price of the facility is still unknown and the districts ability to fund the project will likely be determined by the success of a single all-encompassing bond measure in 2007, or a second, phase-specific bond measure down the road, Lewis said.Should funding and weather prove kind, Lewis said the entire project could be completed within six years.

The dollar signs are adding up for three phases worth of planning, surveying and building costs for the proposed Truckee Community and Cultural Center. The Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District has yet to pin down a cost estimate for the center, or an estimate for what it will cost to maintain and staff a 100,546-square-foot facility.The district recently hired a financial consultant who will assist with expense projections and cash-flow analysis, according to Marshall Lewis, the districts board of directors vice chairman.The overall recreation programs about break even, so where we expend the fees that we charge are more so on the maintenance side, Lewis said. The district is anticipating that people who want to participate in classes or athletic teams at the center will be required to pay a facilities fee, but that people who just come to use the running track or play a little one-on-one will not have to pay at all.

The push for a community and cultural center in Truckee is gaining momentum. Here is what residents can expect from the proposed project in coming months: Random survey: The district will be hiring an independent research firm to conduct a second survey to determine whether to go out for a bond measure and what the threshold for that measure might be. Ground breaking for phase one: The district would like to begin building a community center with gymnasium and kitchen in the spring of 2007. Bond Election: The district is anticipating going out for a bond measure to fund phase two of the project in the spring of 2007. Ground breaking for phase two: If a bond measure passes and provides funding for a second phase, the district will begin building classrooms and offices in the summer of 2008. Phase three: The funding and timeline for an aquatic center is yet to be determined.