Carson City holds out its hat for federal money

Topping the federal funding wish list for Carson City are such endeavors as Waterfall fire area reforestation, landscaping for the new freeway, and something new - a variety of smaller programs targeting methamphetamine abuse.

Mayor Marv Teixeira and City Manager Linda Ritter made their annual trek to Washington, D.C., last week to visit with the area's congressional delegation: Sen. Harry Reid, the Democratic Whip; Sen. John Ensign, and Congressman Jim Gibbons, both Republicans.

In excess of $1.8 million is being sought for continued reforestation of the Waterfall fire burn area. The city asked for $2 million last year, but received $375,000.

The blaze in 2004 burned nearly 8,800 acres of hillside on the west side. Some reseeding already has taken root, but more effort and time will be necessary to heal the land, bring back the views and prevent soil erosion and flooding, according to the city.

The city would like to have $2 million for landscaping along the southern leg of the Carson City freeway. Gardeners Reclaiming Our Waysides, GROW, received $2 million in federal money last year for this type of work, but needs an estimated $5 million total to complete it.

"We would hate to see the phase 1 enhanced and phase 2 not," Ritter said.

Another $2 million is sought for improving the Marlette-Hobart water system. This is the state-operated water system that provides water to Carson City and Virginia City.

The city would like to improve its part of the operation by updating the water pump from diesel to natural gas fuel, moving below ground the water lines that move water from the lake to treatment, and potentially adding equipment to produce hydroelectric power.

The city last year asked for $2 million but received $50,000.

This is the first time the city is asking for federal funding specifically to stop methamphetamine abuse. Some of the requests include a total of $350,000 for:

• Law enforcement equipment and activities to aid in detection, arrest and conviction of meth users and traffickers

• Tri-Net Narcotics Task Force, a regional group with representatives in Carson City, Lyon, Storey and Douglas counties, and the Nevada Division of Investigation

• An extensive community awareness and education campaign

• Drug-use evaluation, treatment and counseling programs for abusers and their families

• Pilot program in Justice Court that would expand current drug court program to juvenile offenders and to treat and assist their families.

"I'm especially pleased that the mayor shared information about the city's program to combat the methamphetamine epidemic in the community," said a written statement from Reid. "Getting law enforcement more funding to stop meth use and production is a priority of mine."

Other areas the city would like funding help with is to preserve part of the historic First Presbyterian Church building, and to ensure it receives money for land at Ash Canyon through the U.S. Forest Service Legacy Program Fund.

The city, with help from church officials, is beginning to seek money from a variety of sources to keep at least a portion of the old church standing, said Joe McCarthy, the city's development and redevelopment authority director.

The building is within the downtown redevelopment area, and one of the ideas being considered is operating it as a joint-use facility.

About 118 acres at the end of Ash Canyon Road, referred to as the Wilson Property, is relatively high on the list for U.S. Forest Service Legacy Program funds. It is No. 17 among dozens of other locations and city officials hope the funding won't stop at a higher number, such as the top 10.

n Contact reporter Terri Harber at tharber or 882-2111, ext. 215.


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