I missed Nevada Day for the first time in 10 years, which means I also missed my annual chance to update visitors to Carson City on the changes they would notice if they hadn't been to town in awhile.
I still want to pause to review, because it's been a significant year around here. I'm sure the Nevada Day throng noticed:
n A gigantic hospital has sprung up on the north end of town and is getting ready to open next month. Carson Tahoe Regional Medical Center is the biggest thing to hit this place since John Wayne.
Everybody who was obsessing over development of the sound end of Carson City, otherwise known as northern Douglas County, now has to recognize that the happening place to be is the north end of Carson.
n The freeway, the freeway! There are big green signs, there are off- and on-ramps ... there is even a stretch we drive as we're leaving town. By next Nevada Day, this half of the bypass will be old news.
Then we can start looking forward to the southern part. It will transform the city once again.
n The flag on C Hill was finished. It looks great, and it's going to be there a long time.
- Wal-Mart came back to town. This is a big boost to the city's bottom line, bringing those sales-tax dollars back into Carson. But we all know the net effect may be zero if Wal-Mart manages to kill off a number of other businesses, which is often the case.
You either love Wal-Mart or hate it - or both, on any given day. I sure do like to get something for a cheap price. I sure do hate to be treated like a cow on the way to market.
I could go on listing the pros and cons of the world's largest retailer, but the point here is simply that now if you do go to Wal-Mart, you can choose where your sales-tax dollars are going to reside.
n Meanwhile, Kmart and the old Wal-Mart building remain empty (except for goods collected for Hurricane Katrina victims). This seems a lot less important now, although I'd still like to see some creative developments in either spot.
I think Max Baer Jr. is going to find some other use for the old Wal-Mart and another location for his Beverly Hillbillies casino. On the east side might be a good idea, now that the Virginia & Truckee Railroad is going to be chugging down the mountain in a few years.
As for the Kmart building, somebody should capitalize on the traffic being generated in the north end of town (where there are two new hotels, too) and cut off those customers before they head to the new shopping center being built near the Mount Rose intersection south of Reno.
n The Lucky Spur opened this year, and the significance shouldn't be understated. This was a hole on Carson Street for close to 30 years. Now it's a shining light - literally. In the decade I've been tracking the progress of downtown, this is probably the best it's looked.
n Except for the Ormsby House, of course. Does anybody know if they keep records for the longest renovation project?
It took 23 years to build the Taj Mahal. The Winchester House in San Jose was constantly renovated over the course of 38 years, but I think the widow Winchester was living there the whole time. It has now taken longer to renovate the hotel than Major Ormsby actually lived in the Carson area.
n As I mentioned earlier, the V&T is on its way to becoming a Virginia City-to-Carson City railroad once again. I have to think it will become a Nevada Day tradition of itself, one of those must-do activities people will schedule during the three-day holiday. I can envision the entire population of Virginia City riding down on Saturday morning to take in the parade and beard contest.
Well, I'm sorry I missed Nevada Day and my chance to wave the state flag. It's been a good year for Carson City and the state. Here's to another one.
A personal note:Thanks to all of you who called or wrote with condolences on the death of my mother, which was the reason I was out of town over the weekend. Jenny and I truly appreciate your kind words and thoughts. We all face the inevitable, and it's through the comfort and support of friends and relatives that we are able to move past our grief.
n Barry Smith is editor of the Nevada Appeal. Contact him at email@example.com or 881-1221.