A proposal by the city of Reno to lease one of its buildings at Paradise Park has area seniors in an uproar.
“On August 16, Jaime Schroeder, Reno Parks and Recreation Director told the Recreation and Parks Commission that the reason for their decision is low participation and low revenue at the facility compared to its other two recreation centers,” said Donna Clontz, an advocate for seniors.
But Clontz said underuse of the building was primarily driven by the pandemic, its related restrictions and senior use of the building was never a money issue in the past.
“The Paradise Park facility costs $70,000 a year to run and it is bringing in less than a tenth of that cost in revenue this year,” Clontz added.
Paco Lachoy, chair of the city’s senior citizen advisory committee – but speaking on behalf of himself – said the reason for the potential lease of the facility generated questions and reliable information about the situation was scarce.
City officials did not respond to a request for comment.
“I don’t know how they are counting seniors that are coming to the facility. I don’t know if the counts are accurate,” Lachoy told This Is Reno. “I need more information. We need to know how people are being counted.”
The Aug. 16 parks commission meeting drew about 90 people in opposition to the proposed change. Only one person, according to both Klontz and Lachoy, spoke in favor of leasing the facility to Tu Casa Latina for a LatinX community center.
That person was a representative of Council member Oscar Delgado, Lachoy and Clontz said.
“The room you could tell was [against it],” Lachoy said.
“There should’ve been a plan on how we’re going to do this.”
Lachoy added that notice of the potential change by the city came as a surprise, since prior city council direction to staff was that all issues potentially affecting seniors had to go through the city’s senior advisory committee.
“It didn’t come to us for our attention and analysis,” he said, explaining that the number of seniors near Paradise Park have made the facility convenient. “It’s an activity center for everybody but it’s been concentrated for senior activities.”
Clontz said city staff has drastically cut back on senior programs and activities at the park “and has refused to add them back upon repeated requests by the seniors.
“Revenues are much lower there because it is much smaller than the other two recreation facilities and does not offer the great amount of higher cost activities available at the other recreation centers,” she explained in a press release.
She has called for people to attend the following meetings to get more information and express ideas about the facility.
- Wed. Sept. 7, 2 p.m., Paradise Park Community Meeting, 2745 Elementary Dr., Reno
- Tues. Sept. 13, 2 p.m., Senior Citizen Advisory Committee, City Council Chambers, 1 E. First St., Reno
- Tues., Sept. 20, 6 p.m., Recreation & Parks Commission, 925 Riverside Dr., Reno
- Wed. Sept. 28, 10 a.m., Reno City Council, 1 E. First St., Reno
Lachoy said it’s important for the community to have correct information.
“It’s important that all the facts get out there,” he said. “There should’ve been a plan on how we’re going to do this.”
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. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.