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North Las Vegas looks to get creative to fund new park

Reported by: Christine Kim
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Updated: 3/13/2013 7:36 am
NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- A North Las Vegas park eight years in the making is expected to open to the public this summer, but it comes with controversy.

The city is operating under a fiscal emergency, with a very tight balanced budget.

Some critics say a cash-strapped town needs to be more responsible on how it plans to maintain new and existing parks.

The city has explored different options on how to come up with the costs to maintain the new park, which is expected to draw about 2,000 people a day.

Admission fees are off the table, but what may help fund a portion of it, could be some of the special attractions at the park.

Craig Ranch Regional Park is 80 percent complete with Phase 2 of constructing a 170-acre mega park, which will feature the biggest skate park in the state, community gardens and an adventure playground.

While construction costs have been covered by federal money, much of the debate comes from how to fund day-to-day operations.

Ken Kraft with the North Las Vegas Park and Recreation Advisory Board says the cost to maintain the park is $2.2 million in its first full year of operation. The problem, he says, is how the city can afford to keep this park open.

That topic heated up Tuesday's North Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meeting.

Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Mike Henley says 40 percent of the costs to operate the park will come from usage fees including the skate park, renting out picnic shelters and hosting big events.

The rest of the 60 percent of costs likely will come from the general fund.

Kraft is concerned that the new park will take away funding from existing ones.

But Henley says there will be no impact, adding Craig Ranch Park's budget is separate from existing ones. Now it's up to the City Council to decide how much of the general fund will support the park.

The City Council will take a look at the business plan at its next meeting in April.

Henley says despite what the council decides, the park will open Labor Day weekend.
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