City Manager Nick Marano mentioned both the Ormsby House’s future and adapting to lure business to Carson City as he talked Monday about downtown changes.
Marano was vague but sounded hopeful on the unopened hotel, talked of switching economic development timing to lure companies, and gave a more expansive overview of city government’s moves to spur the local economy.
The retired Marine Corps colonel started, literally, with war stories. Looking back, he used his Mideast military experience as a foundation for his remarks about places like Carson City being in a war for jobs. He said in Iraq’s Anbar Province, refocusing on economic development and jobs after battles hadn’t worked was a way to positive change there. Looking ahead, he also cited a book titled “The Coming Jobs War.”
“The labor force in Carson is smaller than it was 10 years ago,” Marano said, speaking at a packed Soup’s On luncheon put on by the Carson City Chamber of Commerce. He showed statistics in his PowerPoint presentation that contrasted 2004’s city employment of 25,400 with this year’s, which was listed as 24,300. He also said there are fewer business firms in the city.
Marano said Jim Clifton, Gallup, Inc., chairman and CEO., wrote the book he cited on jobs. He said Clifton’s central thesis is that the most important thing for the planet is jobs, and jobs are in cities where innovation is occurring. That led him to deliver what he called a “shout out” to the Adams Hub, a tech and business incubator downtown.
It also prompted a spirited call for remaking downtown and other business corridors to attract both tourists and the young people he says will become future residents of Nevada’s capital. He said the three-lane downtown Carson Street design, with wider sidewalks and bike lanes, is the type of change that has helped revitalize other communities.
“I think our past is our future,” Marano said, pairing pictures of pioneers trekking west with young people working at computers in a modern setting. He said United States’ innovation turned back the challenge of Japan for world economic dominance years ago, and he looks toward it doing the same regarding China’s economy.
“It’s a war that we can win,” he said, recasting his comments by tailoring them to the theme of local jobs, development and future gains. He also said because Tesla Motors is bringing a battery plant to the region and has stirred significant interest in the area, he will meet with Northern Nevada Development Authority officials to change what is stressed first in a two-year program.
City government earlier has contracted with NNDA to help grow local manufacturing concerns first and lure in new ones, with that the order of emphasis.
“We’re probably going to flip that,” Marano said, building on the Tesla “glow” in a bid “to get new firms to relocate to Carson City.”
Early in a question-answer session that followed his talk, Marano fielded an inquiry about the Ormsby House hotel and if city government stalled its’ opening. He said he is making Carson City a friendly place for businesses. He has had talks with Ormsby House owners, but he wouldn’t divulge them other than to say there is progress. The city manager said ownership “has a timeline,” and expediting any city interaction is a Marano goal.