This community needs a center | SierraSun.com

This community needs a center

Doug Mahrer
My Turn

You know something is missing when the main gathering place for a community is the local post office. Even though I now have street delivery, I still keep my post office box as a way to stay in touch with my fellow locals. But the post office meeting space is about as effective as those little boxes stuffed so full that it takes five people and a wheel puller to remove one’s mail.

This is why I am a strong supporter of a new (supposing one already exists) community center. I envision not just a recreation center, but a community center that actually serves this community. I see a facility with theater space, auditorium, classrooms, and a conference center. I picture a placer where people come to socialize, have a cup of joe, meet for lunch, or view local artwork. And of course I look forward to a place to play tennis, volleyball, basketball, racquet ball, or test my skills on a climbing wall. Perhaps it could even be a place to swim or jog in the middle of winter. Hey, what about some bowling lanes or a year-round ice rink?

Truckee is desperately in need of a community center such as this. But as the name implies, it should be in the center of the community with access to all. I am extremely happy to see plans for a new community center in the works. However, these current plans place the community center in the “triangle,” surrounded by Highway 89, the bypass, and the freeway, which would effectively sever it from the community. Before we go forward with any grand plans, I would like to see some real effort put into finding a better location for Truckee’s new gathering place.

Yes, I know this piece of land is free, but we need to look further down the road, (no pun intended). To spend big money on a center that ultimately does not get used because of a poor location choice would be a travesty. Let’s get creative. How about selling or trading that parcel to acquire a more easily accessed central location. Truckee also owns other properties, such as the corporation yard, that could be sold off or traded, as well, to make this happen.

So what could be a good location for our future community center? My first choice would be the “old mill site,” also known as the balloon tracks. It is easily accessible from downtown, it would be next to the river ” affording ambiance and perhaps some rafting opportunities, and it could be connected to the regional park by way of a bridge over the river.

Some have suggested the old middle school as another site consideration. I agree that this would be better than the “triangle,” (not to be confused with the Bermuda Triangle), as it is close to the high school and several subdivisions. It already has structures that could be converted, which would save on costs. But where is the ambiance? And, it is not very central.

Another location idea is along West River Street in the area that is now occupied by auto repair shops and a firewood yard. This would be my second choice, although it could prove to be too cost prohibitive. But hey, it wouldn’t hurt to check into it.

Perhaps this is my point. Let’s first check into all of the possibilities. Let’s be creative. Let’s be open-minded. Speaking of which, please put forward any ideas you may have. Write a letter to the recreation department, the local newspapers, or town council members. Here’s a novel idea: How about showing up at a town council meeting and let your voice be heard. After all, this is an extremely important issue which affects the very heart and soul of Truckee.

Sure, the post office doubles as an impromptu meeting place, has a central location, and offers extreme sports (wrestling with 10 pounds of mail in a one-pound box), but I know we can do better.

Doug Mahrer is a concerned Truckee citizen.