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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA: Marijuana, Health Plans, Dog Park Upgrades & Hidden Valley Pickleball Courts


Image: Wikipedia Commons. Note: Not the actual equipment proposed for the Virginia Lake dog park, but still awesome!

There is a lot on tomorrow’s Reno City Council agenda. In addition to a partnership with the federal ATF to address illegal firearms in the Reno community, the council is revisiting some old items and some new.

Health plans for city employees were a source of contention a few weeks ago. There’s been speculation that the city will bridge the gap between Renown and St. Mary’s by offering a compromise plan for its employees, but that remains to be determined until the council’s final vote.

The Virginia Lake dog park is getting sorely needed — and awesome (agility equipment!) — upgrades. Nearly $80,000 is scheduled to be voted on for phase two construction, scheduled to begin in January.

A new marijuana cultivation facility is being proposed, and the Reno City Council will vote on a business license for John Aramini’s High Sierra Holistics. It’s located on South McCarran.

The council is voting on a donation of $1,500 to help with constructing pickleball courts at Hidden Valley park. According to city staff, “Truckee Meadows Pickleball Club represents participants in one of the fastest growing sports in Reno.  They currently have 300 members, most of whom are seniors.”

Also, what’s up with the Crafters of Riverwalk event? According to the staff report:

Since the Crafters on the Riverwalk Special Event was put together very quickly issues did arise with the event.  Although most issues were dealt with quickly by the City, there were lessons that were taken away for future events.

Concerns from the Artist Community

There were concerns that the crafters were not selling handmade items. The 23 crafters that had been permitted for the event had all signed the Application stating that they will be selling hand crafted items. As long as some part of the item was handmade, the Application requirement was met.

There were also objections that First Amendment protected expressive merchandise individuals were restricted from the event.  Staff created two free speech locations within the event and there are many additional spaces adjacent to the event in West Street Plaza for free speech activities.

Enforcement Issues

Only two staff members were devoted to the event so there was very inconsistent enforcement of permitted and non-permitted crafters at the event.  During the week, staff was able to check on the permitted vendors and enforce unpermitted vendors, but the weekends were harder to enforce since there wasn’t a consistent staff presence onsite.  Staff tasked Park Rangers to help enforce the Crafters on the Riverwalk Special Event rules outlined above while on duty for other special events at Wingfield Park in the evenings and on Saturday and Sundays.  There was also a Business License Compliance Officer who worked the event on Saturday, August 15.  There were the same three vendors that were on the riverwalk on the weekends without a permit.  For the fairness of future events there should be consistent enforcement budgeted for the event.

Crafters Outreach and Community Outreach Issues

Although most of the crafters were excited by the special event and the low fees for participation, they wished there would have been more marketing for the event.  Since the event was put together quickly and did not have a marketing budget or any staff resources devoted to it (except for the existing two special events staff) there could have been more outreach done to obtain high quality crafter vendors and to market the event to the general public.

Staff recommends that the City Council consider taking one of the following actions:

  • Eliminating the Crafters on the Riverwalk Special Event.
  • Extending the Crafters on the Riverwalk event in 2016 with a marketing budget for outreach of crafters and the general public and an enforcement budget for the nights and weekends in FY 16/17 of approximately $2,000.
  • Creating an RFP for the Crafters on the Riverwalk event allowing for private promoters to bid for the event.

Translation: a bit of a cluster. We’ll see what happens.

Read the complete agenda here, and as always, the meeting begins at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

Bob Conrad
Bob Conradhttp://thisisreno.com
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. He is also a part time instructor at UNR.