City government can’t do anything about The Ormsby House and the hotel may open next year as a new community focal point, a Chamber of Commerce luncheon audience was told Tuesday.
Supervisor Brad Bonkowski said the city hasn’t got involved in the hotel-rehabilitation process in progress for about a decade because private property is involved.
Ronni Hannaman, chamber executive director, divulged the target opening date as next October, to coincide with the sesquicentennial Nevada Day celebration, yet hedged that prediction while saying the hotel will be “magnificent if and when it is ever finished.”
Both were responding to an audience question about the hotel directed to Deputy City Manager Marena Works at the chamber Soup’s On luncheon. The questioner said the topic came up at a recent city government town hall meeting that Works had referenced during a speech.
Works said house owner Cubix Ormsby LLC has a valid permit. Hannaman also fielded the inquiry, using a microphone she was carrying to roam among the audience so everyone could hear the questions.
“I toured it the other day,” she said of the vacant and partially done hotel. She said rooms had been reduced, there is a lot of meeting space, and when completed it could prove to be “the heart of Carson City” as economic fortunes rebound for the community.
“It’s coming along — slowly, unfortunately,” she added, noting the hotel-rehabilitation work hasn’t been easy. “Every time they opened up things, it was like another Pandora’s box.”
It was after those remarks that Bonkowski rose to take the microphone and say he gets asked the hotel question weekly. He said city government wouldn’t do anything regarding The Ormsby House any more than it would regarding anyone’s private home.
“They will finish it when it’s economically viable,” he said.
During her speech prior to the question-and-answer session, Works said plans for a fair event at Fuji Park Fairgrounds in Carson City next year — keyed to the state’s sesquicentennial year — would go to the Board of Supervisors at the next meeting Oct. 3.
Works said she didn’t know what the board might do with the fair plan, acknowledged such an event involves risks, but also quoted Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things that you did do.”
She also said if people have questions about city government, they should call City Hall for straight answers. But she cautioned some things, such as the recent “very unpleasant thing” that sparked litigation, may require discretion. She obviously was referring to a euthanasia at Animal Services of a dog, a $41,500 settlement with the owner and a lawsuit brought by an employee no longer with the city.
“It’s frustrating,” she said, voicing her desire to give citizens “the whole story” rather than keep things to herself while the legal system runs its course.