Our View: Our future is in our past

As the Carson City Convention and Visitors' Bureau looks forward to the next 10 years, it's instructive also to look back 10 years and see how far we've come.

We're rapidly approaching the 10th anniversary of the day demolition began on the Virginia & Truckee Railroad's engine house at the corner of Stewart and Washington streets in January 1991.

How ironic that our past continues to be our future.

The V&T reconstruction project remains a linchpin of the visitors bureau's plans for the next decade. The project, now up to $24.4 million, would provide a solid attraction for tourists to come to Carson City and stay an extra day or two.

Carson City's best asset is its central location to the variety of scenery, history and entertainment around it. We may not have it all, but we're pretty darn close to it all.

Neverthless, it's a difficult job the visitors bureau faces in persuading people to spend more of their days and nights in Carson City. As something of a bedroom destination for Reno's nightlife, Lake Tahoe's ski areas and Virginia City's western lore, Carson City still needs to answer the tourists' question: "What's there?"

Well, we say, there are the museums. But as much as we love them, the museums aren't going to hold most people for more than an afternoon. The "Divine Nine" golf courses have great potential to draw longer-staying tourists.

And a ride on the V&T to Virginia City and back would be another answer to, "What's there?"

It would solidify the reputation Carson City has been gaining in the past 10 years - since the much-mourned loss of the engine house - that it cares about its history, about preservation of the past, and how important "cultural tourism" can be to its economic future.

There is much to do in addition to the V&T project, to be sure. A seven-day-a-week visitors center and more conventions also are on the bureau's wish list.

We think it's also important that Carson City keep developing an attractive downtown. Projects like Telegraph Square help bring shoppers to town.

It all adds up to a great vision. In 10 years, we can look back again and see how we've done.

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