The Daily Sparks Tribune
Wednesday, May 8, 2002


Our Thoughts:

Save the Ranch

The Regional Planning Governing Board meets May 9 to adopt a Comprehensive Regional Plan for this area. This is a key meeting which could determine the fate of a proposed public purchase of the Ballardini Ranch, located on the southwest edge of Reno.

Purchase of these pristine ranch lands for public use would preserve this area -- more than 1,000 acres -- as a regional park and wildlife refuge. In addition, the ranch borders a 1,400-acre parcel provided by the Arrowcreek development, thus creating over 2,400 acres of undeveloped space. The natural beauty of the area would remain for all of us to enjoy, providing a much-needed green area in the midst of heavily developed south Reno.

Washoe County has formally expressed support for purchasing the land and the county has already set aside $4 million from last year's parks bond issue toward that end. The county believes that federal funds could be obtained to pay for much of the remainder.

Currently, the northern half of the Ballardini parcel is included in the sphere of influence of the city of Reno, which is hoping to expand its borders to include the entire ranch. The Regional Planning Governing Board must vote on whether to approve that expansion. However, doing so could indicate to the present owner that the city plans to open the area to development rather than preserving it, which would raise its value considerably. Thus the price for the parcel would increase, making a public purchase less possible.

Unfortunately, Sparks has joined the city of Reno by seeking an expansion of its own sphere of influence, meaning the vote will probably go against the ranch.

There are not many remaining areas of this size and beauty in our valley that are available for purchase as a community resource. The board should do everything possible to keep the Ballardini Ranch available for public acquisition -- as should Sparks' representative on the board.

A vote to leave the sphere of influence as is, without increasing it, is the wisest move. It would clearly communicate the intent of the people to pursue purchasing options to preserve the land for public use.

© 2002 The Daily Sparks Tribune, used by permission


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