LYNNE LARSON  |  Truckee
Citizen, thespian, athlete

After much discussion and after spending an obscene amount of our tax dollars (nearly $400,000) for studies, renderings, designs, more designs, surveys, and more surveys, the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park Board decided it was “necessary and advisable” to ask the voters in November for $8.5 million in addition to the $7 million it already has to build an aquatic center and a performing arts center. The district doesn’t mention it is paying $1.7 million a year to service the loans for the community center and River View Sports Park. The district fails to mention that the performing arts center and aquatic center together are estimated to lose in the neighborhood of $200,000 a year in operation and maintenance costs, and there are already no less than 11 swimming pools within the district’s boundaries.

The bond language promises jobs. There are rules that require public agencies to award contracts to the lowest bidder. Where are those local jobs? Much of the $400,00 spent for surveys, designs, consultants, and marketing activities has been awarded to businesses outside our local area.

Based on yet another study, the proponents believe an aquatic facility will bring dollars to our local economy. The bond language disguises the fact that the aquatic facility is being driven by a handful of people who can afford up to $1,800 a year to have their children in a private swim program, and some don’t even live in the district. They desire to bring competitive swimming to Truckee and they want us to pay for the pool. They want us to believe this activity will bring dollars to Truckee. There is no benefit to most of us who will have to pay for it.

On the advice of a not-so-local consultant, the district was told that if it did not offer the voters something in addition to an aquatic facility, a bond for that facility alone would fail. Slick! Thus, enter from stage right the performing arts center. The latest plan is to build a performing arts center at the new community center. Much discussion and more of your money has been spent on a project that is not shovel ready and continues to generate controversy over the plan to build it away from downtown, the cost, and the design. This project still doesn’t pass the common sense test. This is a “settle for it” project instead of doing it right.  

Philosophically, I am not against either of these projects; however, practically, I think the board has demonstrated a lack of sensitivity to our community and has been encouraged by those who are self- serving and have little concern for the additional burden they place on us. The district says it isn’t asking for a lot of money. It is one more tax for 30 years, plain and simple. To place another financial burden on this community for something that is a “want” and not a “need” shows a true lack of concern  for our citizens. Members of the Rec and Park District Board have said, “Give up a latte or a bottle of wine.” What do those who don’t drink latte or wine give up — food for their children or lifesaving medications? The board thinks a few bucks will not matter. Well, I can tell you it does. The Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District needs to choose one of the proposed projects and use the money it already has. Do not give the district any more money. Just say NO!