Local Park Takes On Air Races Theme - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Local Park Takes On Air Races Theme

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One of the Reno Air Race's legendary planes is now a permanent part of the community, after a dedication ceremony today in Stead. Standing tall on a pedestal, rising above the sacks of concrete and construction machinery, sits a gleaming model of a military legend: the F8F Bearcat, the flying star of designed to chase Japanese zeros.

The colorful version erected at North Valleys Park is the Rare Bear, the race plane that has dominated the Reno Air Races for decades. As Washoe County Project Coordinator Brett Steinhardt pointed out to us, "You can see the colors are vibrant...it matches the yellows and all the colors of the waterpark. And with the Rare Bear being a local favorite, it was just a natural fit for us."

This plane's mission at the park is to give the races a permanent spot...a model called into service to bring an aviation theme to a county park. But to be honest, at this park it will be hard for even the Rare Bear to stand out. The scope of the rapidly expanding North Valleys Park is incredible as local recreation areas go. The 7,100 square foot waterpark is just a small piece of a 150 acre-plus showplace. Washoe County's Al Rogers, the Division Director of Projects and Programs told us, "We're going to have additional ball fields. We're going to have more flat fields for soccer, and we're going to have a dog park and hiking trails with this."

Along with that, plenty of high desert open space, a large community center, 6 soccer fields and 2 volleyball courts. A children's playground, miles of hiking trails, picnic areas and a skateboard park.

The Rare Bear will loom over an equally rare waterpark. Washoe County Commissioner Kitty Jung can already see the life that will soon take over. She pictures "A sea of children, playing in a little Lake Tahoe, with 60 spray heads."

At its center, a plane that speaks to military history, that hopes to pass that on to new generations…also serving as a salute to this week's magnificent men and their flying machines, as we all hope for a safe and exciting race week.

The North Valleys Regional Park expansion is being funded by the sale of water rights, and the water used in the park will be recycled. Construction will be finished next month with a grand opening scheduled for next spring.

-written by John Potter

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