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Town board coy on ‘Adventure Springs’ future

After the Pahrump town board voted last month to accept the latest report on the “Adventure Springs” project, it still remains to be seen what the final fate of the proposed tourist attraction will be.

So far, several hundred thousand dollars have been spent on the proposal since it was approved by town board members more than two years ago.

At least three of the present sitting board members were not involved in the initial process, including Vice Chair Bill Dolan, who says he’s not quite sure which direction the project may be headed after the board’s recent vote.

“We just accepted the reports that the previous town board paid for. It’s like what Dr. (Tom) Waters said about going to McDonald’s and paying for a hamburger and then walking out without it. The last board has paid for the Contour report and we just accepted it,” he said.

Dolan also noted that Adventure Springs aside, the town has already made some headway at the Pahrump Fairgrounds in terms of smaller ongoing projects.

“We have started our own fairgrounds projects out there. As we all know there is just under 30 acres of soccer fields and next it will be grassed out. Once we get the electricity and water worked out, the arena committee is working on a new arena complex and that’s the direction where I think we need to go,” he said.

The vice chair cautioned that it’s important not to overstep the town’s abilities while trying to provide an attraction that would benefit the community as a whole.

“We need to look at what our community is, what is best for our community and will create some economic development and jobs then move towards that a bite at a time and that is what we are doing,” he said.

In the latest report, Contour Entertainment President Chris Brown did not draw a very rosy picture for the future of Adventure Springs.

Brown noted that several local issues including the incorporation of the town appear to be a major roadblock on the path to getting the project fully off the ground.

A failed attempt at gaining support from lawmakers and the veritable distrust among members of the town board and county commissioners is another issue.

“The high level intention of this phase of the development program was to understand what financial assistance could be garnered from town, county and state programs to help accelerate the growth of this attraction as a catalyst for the tourism industry in Pahrump. While we have fulfilled our obligations as to the creation of our Vision Plan, the parallel effort undertaken independently by the town to pass SB337 to achieve access to significant financial incentives that could be provided by the town, county and state has not been successful. This leaves us with the question again. Now what?” he exclaimed.

Brown’s report also directly addressed the ill will between the town and county.

“We also strongly recommend the pursuit of resolution to the issues that have driven apart the county and town politicians. This divide needs to be mended to allow the groups to work together in support of their constituents, who we believe are the very essence of their duties. We would not expect the town incorporation to be supported by the county, however, the majority of the Nye County residents are in the Town of Pahrump and the county should be doing everything they can to support and serve the needs of their people, including those who live in Pahrump,” Brown admonished.

On that very topic, Waters said that he has noticed what appeared to be a bit of cooperation among some members of the county commission as of late.

“I have seen some positive things with Dan Schinhofen, Butch Borasky, and Lorinda Wichman. I have also seen some positive things with Frank Carbone and I don’t know Frank all that well. Those are the four that I feel I can work with on just about anything but I do know that Dan Schinhofen has said he is not for doing anything with Adventure Springs and he is not willing to step forward on that. When I ask why, I really don’t get an answer,” he said.

Waters also said that he is not sure what the board will decide on once the fourth and final report from Contour is submitted.

He did suggest that the project may appear to be down but it’s definitely not out at this time.

“We accepted the last report and the information was good. It’s where we go from here and that is going to be the biggest key. Because the bill was not passed in the legislature, we may have to wait on that and delay some of the things that we wanted to do. The fence is going up around the fairgrounds and there are so many other things that we are trying to get done out there. Once we get the signs and fence completed, then we will be working on the soccer fields and we’ll see some activity out there. Adventure Springs may be delayed somewhat but I think that it is still a possibility. It is part of the big picture and we have not yet eliminated it,” he said.

Waters also said that the failed assembly bill was something that would have made a huge difference by way of pursuing options for financing the entire project.

“We were hoping for it but it only failed by one or two votes so it was not like it was a huge failure. With the emphasis on it, we are almost assured it will pass in the next legislature. We are talking two years away, but it is something that could still happen,” he said.

Board member Amy Riches has long been an opponent of the project and incorporation.

She said the charm with the community is the fact that it is rural.

“Everybody moves here and right away they want to change it. I don’t want incorporation. I am totally against it. I’m sure there are those who want to run for city council or be the mayor or whatever but you have to pay for your own police department and a lot of other things. We just don’t need those headaches because whenever you get large government more involved, there’s going to be problems. I don’t want incorporation because I love the small town atmosphere that we have in Pahrump,” she said.

Board member Bob Adams said he thought it would have been a better idea to have started on a much smaller scale and then build out when the opportunities presented themselves.

“I’m more for building things a little bit at a time rather than try to do it all at once. I was looking at maybe a BMX track or rodeo arena with baseball and soccer fields. If it grows into a tourist destination fine, but I just don’t see where we are going to get the money to actually do the whole thing at one time especially right now. The money is just not there as it was a few years ago,” he said.

Dolan, meanwhile, gave his thoughts on the next step in the project.

“I believe we have one more report that we have to look at from the Contour people and other than that, I have no idea when it will ever come up again or if it will ever come up again,” he said.

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