More than 100 residents, officials and dignitaries turned out on Saturday for the unveiling of the new look for Nevada’s oldest town.
“The vision was to keep what we have while enhancing the sense of community, of history and of culture,” County Manager Steve Mokrohisky said. “We want people to experience the wonder of this place.”
The improvements that included the removal of power poles, undergrounding of electrical service, installation of new lights and making over downtown came to $1.65 million from the county’s redevelopment fund.
Redevelopment money also built the 1.3–mile Genoa Vista Trail between the town and 1862 David Walley’s Hot Springs and Spa, which was dedicated in January.
“This money was generated here,” Mokrohisky said. “These are your tax dollars that went back into the town.”
Genoa is the first step in the county’s vision for the future of its downtown cores, both at Lake Tahoe and in Carson Valley.
Mokrohisky said the county’s focus on Genoa has already borne fruit with seven new businesses, 40 new jobs and a commercial occupancy rate of 95 percent.
“We will continue to work for a balance between a vibrant business community and the interests of residents,” he said.
Willy Webb, chairman of the Greater Genoa Business Association and owner of the Genoa Bar, said he’d done many renovations over his career and they all have one thing in common.
“While the work is going on, you’re the biggest jerk, but when you’re done, you’re the biggest hero,” he said. “I see nothing but a bright future here.”
Genoa resident Mark Hussman was enjoying the Saturday morning celebration.
“This is great,” he said.
Sen. Dean Heller and Gov. Brian Sandoval sent certificates of recognition to the town and Douglas County.
Washoe tribal member Frank GrayShield gave the invocation in Washoe and translated to English.
“My family had a home in this place for several generations,” he said. “The history of this place could take the whole semester to recount.”
In addition to both the Genoa Town Board and the Douglas County Board of Commissioners, elected officials at the event included Clerk-Treasurer Ted Thran and Recorder Karen Ellison. Longtime Genoa supporter and Jacks Valley rancher John Ascuaga attended the event, sitting with the architect for the makeover, Sandra Wendel, during the ceremony.