Regional cooperation, now more than ever

Steady regional commercial and residential growth has methodically changed perspectives on community issues such as economic development, tourism, water rights and transportation.

Due to their far-reaching impacts, issues that at one time may have been viewed as individual county concerns now receive regional scrutiny. We've witnessed an increasing acknowledgement among community leaders that regional cooperation is a key to a successful future along our stretch of the eastern Sierra.

Earlier this spring, Carson City and Lyon, Douglas and Storey counties hosted their first joint welcoming reception shortly before the start of this year's Legislative session. At the recent Douglas County "Forecast '05" event, we heard government and business leaders talk about a growing spirit of cooperation toward addressing community issues. Recent ceremonies kicking off V&T Railway expansion to link the Comstock and Carson City showcased cooperation among communities from Douglas to Reno.

Those are all positive signs we applaud, but they reflect the tip of what promises to be a massive iceberg of challenges in the coming years.

These include projects such as the 500-home residential development straddling the Douglas-Carson border east of Highway 395 and a large Clear Creek residential project. Each brings the potential for divisive conflicts regarding traffic, roads and services.

The aggregation of commercial development at the county line in north Douglas is reshaping the retail dynamics of Carson, Carson Valley and good portions of the south and north shores of Lake Tahoe.

Douglas appears to be reaping the lion's share of financial benefits at this point, but can Carson City capitalize on that success and create synergies with its neighbor to broaden the economic impacts to include the capital city? Many residents in Tahoe and other outlying areas have replaced shopping trips to Reno and Sacramento with shorter jaunts to the Carson Valley Plaza. As Carson City works to rebuild its retail offerings, including redevelopment of its historic downtown, we see tremendous opportunities to lure those shoppers to spend some of their trips - and shopping dollars - in Carson.

Consumers, especially tourists and shoppers, already ignore county lines to access superior services and facilities. Ignoring county lines when facing issues with regional implications presents a slippery slope for local governments and business organizations. As slick as the traction may be, we hope our community leaders continue to make progress toward regional prosperity by promoting regional cooperation.


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