Eugene Paslov: Proud of board for vote on the City Center

I had the start of a bad day on Sept. 15. My son and I went to the Reno Air Races (as a private pilot, I love this event). We arrived a little after 8 a.m. and we were leaving about 1 p.m., after the final act of the spectacular Thunderbirds took our breath away with their precision flying. We were walking to the car. I still had my head up, watching the last of the F-16s roar over the stadium, when I heard my son shout out, "Dad, watch the curb." I didn't. Down I went. Sprained an ankle and a wrist. Skinned elbows and knees. A half a dozen people rushed over to help me up. I'm a big guy and it took several pairs of hands to get me on my feet. I was mortified. I was concerned that I had broken some bones. I hadn't.

On Sept. 16, there was a tragic crash resulting in death and injury - ironically, in the same bleacher area where my son and I had been sitting the day before. It would have been much worse except the pilot, Jimmy Leeward, through superhuman effort and skill, moved his out-of-control P-51 Mustang away from the bleachers. The survivors and all of us who deeply love aviation thank Mr. Leeward. I am reminded that the line between life and death is thin.)

I had to go to the City Center Project meeting that Thursday night to hear what the Board of Supervisors was going to do about the future of the project. My wife patched me up - ice packs and Ace bandages. I limped off.

There were questions to and answers from Library Director Sara Jones and Steve Neighbors, trustee of the Mae B. Adams Trust. The architectural presentation was outstanding; the answers from Jones and Neighbors were responsive. The city manager, Larry Werner, answered questions precisely.

I was proud of the Board of Supervisors. Supervisor Shelly Aldean chaired the five-hour meeting and was persuasive about what needed to be done. She was clear about the need for a downtown development and had workable solutions about how the public-private partnership could best be enacted. She also put all on notice that if the project appears to fail at a later date, her "yes" becomes a "no." A positive incentive for the project to succeed.

Mayor Bob Crowell insisted that the city not accrue debt as a result of the project. He was assured. Supervisors Karen Abowd and Molly Walt added their ideas, and the vote was positive.

This is local government working at its best, a good ending to the day.

• Eugene Paslov is a board member of the Davidson Academy at the University of Nevada, Reno and the former Nevada state superintendent of schools.


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