Imagine walking down Carson Street on Nevada Day and hearing "Home Means Nevada" pealing from the Laxalt Building.
One group of Carson City residents is committed to equipping the Paul Laxalt Federal Building's recently repaired tower clock with chimes that would toll everything from bells on the hour to Christmas carols.
The group headed by Mayor Ray Masayko and Bill and Dottie Kelley kicked off a fund-raiser to raise $11,000 for the electronic chimes.
"Historic downtown Carson City could benefit from bringing chimes," Masayko said Thursday. "We would like to think this thing could take off like wildfire."
Partnered with the state Landmark Society, the group wants to raise $5,000 right away to begin installation of the speakers to the Laxalt Building, home of the Nevada State Commission on Tourism.
"I like to think of this as a gift of song for our community," Dottie Kelley said.
Masayko gives the Kelley's credit for fostering what is now called the Clock Chimes Project.
Dottie Kelley said she and her husband often reflect on their early years in small towns where church chimes rang on all special occasions. She said she approached the mayor with the idea of bringing chimes to Carson City and two years later, the idea became a real project.
"It's been a dream to hear bells again," she said. "It's nostalgic. It would remind people of their childhood and the hymns or patriotic songs they used to hear."
Masayko approached the clock repairmen in June to help find a company specializing in chimes.
Bill Hartman and Lee Carter thought they were done fixing the Laxalt Building clock, but are donating their time again to install the chimes. Hartman said it would add around $3,000 to the price of the chimes to have them installed by chime maker, the Verdin Company.
Hartman found the Verdin Company through a search on the Internet. He said of the three companies he found, Verdin was the company most interested in the project.
Although the chimes will sound like bells, they will be coming from a small, electronic chip hardwired with up to 1,500 tunes chosen for Carson City. Four speakers will be attached to the outside of the Laxalt Building. Hartman said they are working on ways to make sure the speakers aren't visible on the building. The sound of the chimes can be heard up to a half a mile away in good conditions, Hartman said.
The Kelleys are so committed to the project they wrote a check to the project Thursday for $400. Masayko added $100. Redevelopment Authority Chairwoman Robin Williamson said there is redevelopment money available for special projects that might be able to be used for the chimes. The Kelley's will be going to groups to ask for support and individuals are encouraged to donate to the tax-deductible cause.
"This will give people pride in their downtown and add ambiance to Carson City," Hartman said.
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