Claps and sighs of relief from Graves Lane residents greeted a vote by the Regional Transportation Commission to build a sound wall along South Graves Lane.
Although no funding is available for the project, commissioners voted to let the construction of a 10-foot-high masonry sound wall along more than a mile of Graves Lane compete for money with other items on the transportation commission's priority list.
"I'm not telling you you're going to get funded," commissioner Marv Teixeira said. "You want to play, you want a uniform, you're in the game."
There is no time line for when the $415,000 wall will be built, and commissioners didn't commit to building the wall on both sides of the street. Commissioners will re-examine their priority list in January when the sound wall will have to compete for limited funding with other projects such as Ormsby Boulevard, Curry Street work and the freeway.
"We're extremely pleased," said Brad Harker, spokesman of the River Knolls Sound and Safety Wall Committee. "We understand the financial constraints the city has to work with, and this can be overcome. We understand it will take some time, but we're prepared to work with the city."
Commissioners listened as residents once again made their case, arguing that the Graves Lane extension would create a pseudo bypass, making the residents on South Graves Lane equal partners in the impact of the extension.
"Are other streets more important than the health and safety of residents?" Larry Borges asked. "I bet my bottom dollar that most residential streets in Carson City have the problems we have."
Tim Rubald doesn't live in River Knolls but told commissioners people in Carson City were paying attention to the issue because of how it affected the quality of life for the rest of the city.
"One of the most important issues anyone has is the protection of its tax base," Rubald said. "Anytime they consider this type of situation they need to know it affects Carson City, not just one area."
Commissioner Steve Reynolds was concerned with the precedent a sound wall for Graves Lane would create throughout the city.
"What standard did we set on (North) Graves Lane?" RTC Chairman Jon Plank asked. "To do anything less on (South) Graves Lane is questionable."
River Knolls residents Jeff and Stefanie Adams said the decision restored some of their confidence in city leaders.
"I'm encouraged it went as well as it did," Stefanie Adams said. "I'm willing to look into creative financing if I have to get on the Internet and do it myself."
Plank noted that grants through the Western Nevada Development District and other sources could probably be found to help fund the wall.
"It's a victory of sorts," Lana McGaffin said. "We'll continue to monitor the process of funding. This will be an ongoing agenda for the homeowners."