Exceptional Carson City schools, improved downtown top wish list at Chamber of Commerce event

Shannon Litz / Nevada Appeal

Shannon Litz / Nevada Appeal

Bolster Carson City schools and improve downtown, participants at a Chamber of Commerce public luncheon urged Wednesday.

Actually, they urged dozens of things during the chamber’s initial Dialogue 2013 event when asked what they would like to see happen for the city by 2020. But after a filtering process that let folks give positive, negative or maybe votes to just three ideas, the focus narrowed to schools and downtown, plus a handful of other ideas.

“It’s sort of the same menu that you’ve heard before,” Chamber Director Ronni Hannaman told those at the luncheon, including three members of the Board of Supervisors.

During brainstorming, ideas were written in marker on large sheets of paper. Afterward, participants at the Soup’s On luncheon, held at the Silver Oak Executive Conference Center, placed color-coded stickers on the paper next to their preferred ideas.

Supervisors John McKenna, Brad Bonkowski and Jim Shirk were on hand, but listened without actively taking part in the dialogue.

Using green stickers with dollar signs to indicate what they would support with money, audience members gave 10 or more votes to the ideas of ensuring Carson City has exceptional schools and improving downtown. Finishing the bypass freeway and making Western Nevada College thrive, including via sports, each got eight green stickers as the crowd exited.

Making Carson City a business center to attract young professionals garnered seven green stickers, and making it a tourist destination received six.

Various other ideas, such as helping boost manufacturing jobs or hooking up homes and businesses with fiber-optics connections, got a smattering of support from among the host of concepts that were pushed.

Robert Whitcomb, an educator from WNC, acted as chief facilitator and said the exercise showed Carson City has many positive aspects; many participants cited weather and outdoor recreation as some of their favorite things about the city.

But it was the Vision 2020 portion that needed another step, he said.

“You’ve listed tons of stuff,” he told audience members about their ideas for improvement, then reminded them that overcoming resistance to change is as important as driving change. Asking what factors prompt resistance, audience feedback included lack of money, among other things.

That’s when he brought out the stickers-oriented voting system to close out the luncheon event.

Chamber officials plan various similar Dialogue 2013 meetings this year.


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