TRUCKEE, Calif. — Reconnecting to the past is a way to usher the Truckee Veterans Hall Building into a new era.
This is a recurring theme in recommendations offered by the grassroots group Friends of the Veterans Hall on how to expand public use of the building overlooking downtown.
“It could just be like a jewel on the hill, representing so much about our community and our past,” explained Ruth Jackson Hall, a member of the Friends of the Veterans Hall, to the Truckee-Donner Recreation & Park District board last Thursday.
After months of gathering community input on the building’s future, the Friends of the Veterans Hall offered the following suggestions to the TDRPD board:
• Create a mural depicting the building’s and area’s history on the inside walls of the basketball court.
• Hold rotating art, history and other exhibits in the building.
• Install indoor and outdoor commemorative plaques that identify the hall’s history and importance.
• Hold presentations and functions such as historical film showings and storytelling by veterans and Washoe Tribe members.
• Hold classes, workshops and camps for all ages that support art, history and the environment.
• Increase marketing efforts so the public is aware the facility is available for public use and can be rented to groups.
• Have a user-friendly website for the Veterans Hall, filled with photos, suggestions on potential uses and a rental sign-up option.
• Send out mailers to local organizations, inviting them to use the hall.
• Provide beyond basic training to front office staff on hall-renting options, so the best option for each potential renter can be found.
• Designate an individual as the principal marketing contact for the hall.
• Expand current recreational uses, such as more sports and overnight youth field trips.
BUILDING ON THE CORE
Currently, the Veterans Hall is used for basketball, indoor soccer, Aikido, cribbage club and youth group ski rentals.
“So it’s not abandoned, but what we would like to do is build on this particular core,” said Karl Pape, a Friends of the Veterans Hall member.
However, limitations exist in the form of limited parking, a Nevada County deed restriction that stipulates the building must be used for recreation, and the building being located in a residential area.
As a result, Friends of the Veterans Hall recommends that renting organizations use a shuttle service for large events at their own expense, that evening events have a curfew of 9 or 10 p.m., and music regulations be stipulated in rental contracts.
“I think this is a good first start,” said TDPRD director Peter Werbel. “At this point, consideration of cost and consideration of revenue, that’s something we’ll have to wrestle with.”
Recently, the property has accrued an annual loss of about $20,000, along with a steady decline in usage since completion of the new recreation center in 2009.
In March, the TDRPD board decided to put the property’s potential sale on hold to gather additional community input after hearing public testimony mostly in favor of keeping the Veterans Hall public and expanding its uses.
The group’s recommendations will be looked at by district staff, said board chair Kristin York, while the mural idea and increasing exposure for the property will be pursued.
The item will remain on the board’s agenda in the coming months so updates can be heard.
“We want to have it vibrant and alive, but we still want to try and be respectful of the neighbors,” said director Janet Brady.