Work will begin next month on a $1.5 million whitewater park and kayak course on the Truckee River through downtown Reno.
The City Council on Wednesday awarded the construction contract to Cruz Excavating Inc., of Incline Village, which was the low bidder at $1.2 million.
The balance of project funds will cover final design work and construction of a bridge to Wingfield Park from nearby Bicentennial Park, officials said.
An Aug. 7 groundbreaking ceremony is planned.
The project involves removing and reconfiguring flood walls, regrading the river banks, and constructing a series of drops and pools.
The kayak course is expected to be ready by early next year. It is the first part of an overall plan that includes improvements at eight other sites over a 24-mile stretch of the river in coming years.
"The Truckee River's Whitewater Recreation project is a great opportunity for northern Nevada to become a dynamic destination for kayaking and other sports," said Lt. Gov. Lorraine Hunt, chairwoman of the Nevada Commission on Tourism.
The commission spearheaded the whitewater park effort as a way to lure outdoor enthusiasts to the Reno area and expand the region's tourism base.
"In this era of intensifying competition for casino customers, it takes more than gaming alone to attract visitors to Nevada," said Bruce Bommarito, executive director of the state tourism agency.
"Outdoor adventure is a strong attraction that is essential to our tourism product, and the Reno-Lake Tahoe area has the landscape for it," he said.
Money for the project comes from a statewide bond issue voters approved last year for parks and recreation and to preserve open space.