Craig Ranch park on track for opening

Craig Ranch Regional Park is still on track for its September opening, according to the North Las Vegas Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which held a special meeting March 5 to discuss the park’s status.

The 150-acre park was 65 percent complete as of March 5 and is on pace to open Sept. 7, said Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Mike Henley, who has been working on the project for nine years.

The board is still committed to not instituting entrance or parking fees for patrons, leaving a sizable hole in the park’s budget.

Henley said to plug that hole, the staff is working on public-private partnerships with nearby businesses, such as PetSmart. The city would partner with the pet product retailer to endow the proposed dog park, which would become the city’s first.

The city would also count on park programming — such as tennis and soccer leagues, facility rentals and festivals — to help keep the park financially sustainable.

The park’s operating budget is in the process of being carved out of the city’s already tight general fund, according to the board.

“We’ve built a budget that is in the review process,” Henley said. “We’re still waiting to hear back on that.”

The park has a budget of $350,000 for fiscal year 2012-2013 with projected budgets increasing to $1.3 million next fiscal year and up to $2.2 million the following year, according to Henley.

“The council is very committed to (this project),” he said.

When the park opens just after Labor Day weekend, after the landscaping has had time to grow, residents should have access to a skate park, basketball and tennis courts, picnic pavilions and trails, baseball fields, a dog park, a 60-bed community garden, a rose garden and four 1-acre playground facilities.

“Sustainability is really the issue here,” chairman of the board James Olive said.

Part of the park’s sustainability plans include a measure that would keep any revenue generated by the park inside the park. Traditionally, revenue generate by North Las Vegas parks goes into the Parks and Recreation Department’s overall budget, a budget that board member Tony Windsor called “leaky.”

“We’re used to apples and oranges,” he said, referring to traditional city parks. “This is a banana. We have to remember that this is a banana.”

Olive was equally as resolute.

“We have a venue that is second to none,” he said. “There are intelligent people running it who are second to none.”

Contact Paradise/Downtown View reporter Nolan Lister at or 702-383-0492.

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