State to change skyline of Carson City

Sometimes overlooked in the crush of statewide issues is how much the Nevada Legislature can affect Carson City itself.

Of course, the state is the city's biggest employer, so anything to do with wages or benefits filters through the economy. More visible is the state's presence in downtown Carson City, where it occupies prime real estate and where any construction project is going to be a big deal.

So far this session, it's been a mixed bag of results. As lawmakers try to squeeze dollars out of the budget, Sen. Bill Raggio is looking to postpone some renovation work for a couple of years.

Among those projects is demolition of the old city fire station at Musser and Curry streets, a building that has long outlived its usefulness and is to be replaced by a parking lot for the Attorney General's Office.

Anything that helps create parking downtown, even if it's just 16 spaces, will be welcomed. The sooner, the better.

Of more concern, however, is the potential delay of several renovation and upgrade projects at Stewart. The Stewart buildings in general remain the state's neglected stepchild -- underused and under-maintained. We wonder if there will ever be a day when there is enough money to restore Stewart to a level envisioned by many Carson City residents, as both historic treasure and functioning state campus.

On the plus side, however, is a lease-purchase deal that could mean construction begins this summer on two six-story buildings north of the Department of Transportation off Stewart Street.

While the buildings will contribute to a glut of office space in Carson City, the lease-purchase concept is a money-saver for taxpayers. Consolidating a couple of departments into the buildings will also help save money and make the offices more efficient.

At $20 million each, those buildings will be a boon for the city's construction economy, as well.


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