Outdoor concert series and movie theater in the works for Carson

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A downtown movie theater and a concert series in Mills Park are just two plans in the works that officials hope will stimulate investment and revitalization of Carson City's economic future.

Redevelopment officials are working quickly to bring entertainment and other new amenities to the city, said Joe McCarthy, Carson's economic development and redevelopment manager.

McCarthy has been meeting with local concert promoter John Procaccini to put together a concert series to include six concerts and one wrap-up event, possibility to take place at the Pony Express Pavilion in Mills Park.

"We've been putting the full-court press on John," McCarthy said.

Procaccini is owner of the Upstage Theater in Carson and one of the promoters of the Sierra Starlight Concert Series in Genoa. The series will no longer be held in Genoa after after residents complained of noise and traffic following last year's events.

McCarthy told Redevelopment Authority Citizens Committee members Wednesday night the pavilion can be converted, possibly by adding acoustic improvements, to host concert events. McCarthy estimates the Redevelopment Authority may have to pitch in from $1,000 to $2,000 for the improvements. The pavilion could seat up to 2,000 people, but for concerts would most likely attract 1,200.

"We have to have good, quality seating," McCarthy said.

Supervisor Robin Williamson said she would like to see a "festival" atmosphere accompany the events with face painters, wine and food booths and other activities.

Other revitalization efforts are under way for downtown Carson. Officials are romancing a national movie theater company in hopes of convincing it to build a six- to 10-screen theater in the downtown area.

"We've got to find a location for them," McCarthy said. "Downtown is their target."

The company would need at least four acres for the project, he said. One site being discussed for revitalization is the old Virginia & Truckee Railroad shop lot, a four-acre lot behind the Children's Museum of Northern Nevada. The site has remained vacant after the demolition of the railroad shops buildings in 1991.

These plans are in the first stages of development, called "pie in the sky" by McCarthy, and are elements of a larger Economic Vitality Plan for the city.

Besides the concert and movie theater ideas, officials are beginning to put feet on many other work plans to strengthen the economic future of Carson City.

The Economic Vitality Coalition, led by Supervisor Pete Livermore and comprised of representatives from Carson schools, manufacturing, residents, business and the city, will meet Jan. 21. The group will take its first look at developing action plans to carry Carson into its economic future.

The plan, adopted in June, is Carson's answer to a changing landscape as sales tax dollars become less reliable as a revenue source and jobs in gaming decline.

More than 60 members of business, government and residents took six months last year to put the plan together. Since its adoption, more than 120 people have signed up to begin meeting in working groups starting in January.

The working groups will focus on areas like identifying sources of alternative energy to strengthening relationships with educational institutions for better preparation of a local work force as well as downtown visioning and redevelopment.

"I can't tell you how exciting this is," McCarthy said. McCarthy was hired in October and is to play an integral part of making the city's plan a reality.

McCarthy said the plan focuses on providing primary jobs and strengthening current business infrastructure among many other goals and objectives.

"What will fall in behind it is what we think will be a stronger quality of life," he said.


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