Local residents on the far northwest end of town can expect some meaningful progress in 2014 on a seemingly elusive project in the works since 2005.
Town board members this month voted unanimously to continue moving forward on Last Chance Park with a few changes to the design.
The original plan called for the division of three 10-acre parcels of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land near Bell Vista and Bannavitch roads, which would be connected by horse and bike trails.
Earlier this year, the town was forced to alter the plan in order to make the project a bit more favorable to the town board, staff and the BLM.
Recent BLM changes to the original plan will thwart the development of a well system at the site essentially forcing the change in design.
Pahrump Town Manager Susan Holecheck said the latest version of the plan also omitted a few original features that did not seem to fit well with the overall equestrian-themed park.
“We did come to an idea of what we could do at Last Chance Park, but on a more minimized scale and some of the plans I saw included children’s playgrounds and shade structures. We were able to get it down to more of an equestrian-friendly park,” she said.
Board member Dr. Tom Waters said he still believes the park can easily serve as a place for travelers to stop before moving on to other nearby destinations.
“It can’t be what we first envisioned it to be some time ago, but I still feel that we should have something. It was really going to be parking space for buses and cars as they came through Pahrump before they got to Death Valley. It wasn’t really supposed to cost a lot of money as far as having bathrooms and other things,” he said.
Rather than having standard restroom facilities, Holecheck said the idea of installing porta-potties at the site would be a better alternative in the eyes of BLM officials.
“Part of the problem has been that we thought we could develop a well. We have been told that is not possible due to the pupfish and some other environmental issues. Things have changed over time,” she said.
Board member Robert Adams said BLM officials also want the park project to go before county officials before they are ready to give final approval for work to begin.
“The BLM wants the town board to reaffirm a commitment to this since there has been a lot of time passed since the application was first made as well as several changes since. They also are requiring that this be presented to the county commissioners to make sure they are good with it. Another reason it has to go before the county is that the planning department is requiring an asphalt parking lot with curbs,” he said. “They should waive the asphalt parking lot because it’s not going to work and it’s a huge expense. It is not something that is needed and it will really be counterproductive. I know some of the equestrians in the audience are thinking it is a crazy idea,” he said.
Following further discussion board members voted 5-0 to adopt the BLM alterations and move forward with Last Chance Park with support from the county.