June 25, 2004
Jim Shaw, Chair
Jim Galloway, Commissioner
David Humke, Commissioner
Pete Sferrazza, Commissioner
Bonnie Weber, Commissioner
Washoe County Commission
PO Box 11130
Reno, NV 89520
Bob Cashell, Mayor
David Aiazzi, Councilperson
Dwight Dortch, Councilperson
Toni Harsh, Councilperson
Pierre Hascheff, Councilperson
Jessica Sferrazza, Councilperson
Sharon Zadra, Councilperson
City of Reno
P.O. Box 1900
Reno, NV 89505
Dear Chair Shaw, Mayor Cashell, and Members of the Washoe County Commission and Reno City Council:
I am pleased to report to you that a person, well known in this community, has authorized me to inform you that the person is willing to provide or arrange for a loan in the amount of Twenty Million Dollars ($20,000,000) to assist our local public entities to acquire the entire Ballardini Ranch.
The loan would be based upon flexible terms, taking into consideration the needs of the public entities wishing to participate in the acquisition of the Ranch.
The loan funds are to be applied to acquire the entire 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch, together with the option and rights the current owner of the Ballardini Ranch has to acquire the additional 222-acre Persighal Property (which rights relate to easements and the right to acquire in the future, through option or right of first refusal, the Persighal Property). The 222-acre Persighal Property was once a part of the original Ballardini Ranch and lies adjacent to the southern border of the 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch.
This letter is sent jointly to the Washoe County Commission and the Reno City Council for a number of reasons. The Washoe County Commission has, through its courage and foresight, long supported the acquisition of the Ballardini Ranch and has obtained $4 million from bond funding to acquire the Ranch. The Reno City Council has also expressed, by unanimous resolution, its strong support for the acquisition of the Ballardini Ranch; additionally, a portion of the Ballardini Ranch lies within the sphere of influence of the City of Reno. An additional important reason its, however, the hope that our local governmental entities will work together, in cooperation with the federal government to the extent required, to acquire the entire Ballardini Ranch, together with the rights mentioned above.
According to public records, 1,019-acre Ballardini Ranch was sold in 1998 for $8.5 million. Since that time, the County obtained bond funds in the amount of $4 million, from a vote of the public, to assist in the acquisition of the Ballardini Ranch. The County also obtained a $15 million commitment for federal funding for the acquisition of the Ballardini Ranch under the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA). The grant of $15 million technically allows for a 10% override; accordingly, it can be assumed, from that grant, approximately $16.5 million would have been available under SNPLMA funds. Considered together with the $4 million available from the bond issue, this would have made $20.5 million available to acquire the Ballardini Ranch. However, as you are also aware, some months ago, the owner of the Ballardini Ranch gave formal notice to the federal government that it was withdrawing its status as a willing seller of the Ranch, which had the unfortunate consequence of disqualifying the County as a recipient of these SNPLMA funds. Hopefully, in the future, the opportunity for obtaining SNPLMA or similar funds, to the extent desired and needed by the local governmental entities, will again become available for those purposes. In the meantime, this loan of $20 million will now allow the local agencies to take immediate steps to fulfill the desire of the public in the Truckee Meadows to acquire the Ranch for a reasonable price. These loan proceeds of $20 million, together with the $4 million in bond funds that still remain available, will make $24 million available for the acquisition of the Ballardini Ranch and related rights to the Persighal Property.
The members of the public have done much over the years, spanning over two decades, to fulfill the vision of the Ballardini Ranch becoming an open space and a wildlife refuge for permanent public use and enjoyment. As part of this long-term plan, largely through efforts of the public, dedication to Washoe County of approximately 1,400 acres for open space has been obtained from the ArrowCreek Development, which links to the Ballardini Ranch. The dedicated ArrowCreek parcel of 1,400 acres, considered together with the 1019-acre Ballardini Ranch, will provide 2,500 acres of open space between McCarran Boulevard and the Mount Rose Highway along the foothills adjacent to the eastern border of the federal open space lands. The Ballardini Ranch, however, is a critical part of the plan because it offers the refuge area required for the survival of the deer herd and other important wildlife as well as much needed access to the mountains for the public. This vision, however, ultimately comes down to the representatives of the public, namely our public officials, to finalize and to make a reality.
The community is ready for joint cooperation on issues such as this, and the support of the citizens of this community for the acquisition of the entire Ranch is, as they have made abundantly clear over many years, nearly unanimous.
I am pleased to report the availability of this loan, and hope this opportunity, unique in the history of this community, will be given favorable consideration.
Steven T. Walther
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