Despite still recovering from the recession, Mayor Bob Crowell said Wednesday the past year was a banner one for Carson City.
He presented his annual State of the City address to a crowd of more than 100 at the Gold Dust West citing efforts to turn the old state prison into a museum, the opening of the Multi-Athletic Center next to the Boys and Girls Clubs, claiming title to 4,551 acres of BLM property to expand the capital’s open space, construction of the new animal shelter and plans to issue the contract for the downtown core revitalization project in just more than a week. He thanked the McFadden family for their donation of $125,000 to create a plaza on Third Street as part of that project.
The “much needed” improvements — essentially replacement of the city sewage treatment plant — is beginning in a couple of months and there are plans to energy retrofit city facilities including installation of solar power that will reduce electric and gas consumption by about 20 percent, saving $230,000 a year in utility costs.
He also said a new hotel was in the works for the north part of Carson City.
Crowell added the plan to build a mixed use structure on the site occupied by the old Citibank building at Curry and Telegraph streets is also a welcome piece of news. That three-story structure featuring apartments above and shops and other businesses below, is being built by the Hop and Mae Adams Foundation, owners of the Carson Nugget.
At the same time, he said crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since 1994 in Carson City.
“Domestic violence, however, remains a serious problem,” he told the audience.
He said a significant accomplishment was the program to put sheriff’s deputies in both Carson middle schools and at the high school to ensure city youth are in the safest environment possible. And Crowell praised the creation of a Sexual Assault Examination and Forensic room so victims no longer have to endure a 45 minute ride to Reno for an exam.
The new athletic facility — the MAC — was paid for with sales tax bonding of $2.2 million and Quality of Life funding of $6.1 million and provides indoor athletic facilities for a variety of purposes.
The addition of the BLM property to Carson’s inventory brings total open space in the capital to about 7,000 acres. That includes title to the Silver Saddle Ranch.
“Pretty fantastic,” he said. “Not many communities can match that.”
Along with that, he pointed to completion of the Ash to Kings Canyon hiking-biking-jogging trail.
Some of the area’s trails, he said, will be used during the Epic Rides mountain biking event. That group has committed to hold its annual three-day competition in Carson for five years.
After the downtown corridor is revitalized, Crowell said there are plans to do the same with other major commerce routes into the city including William Street and Carson Street south of Fairview.
But Crowell, like City Manager Nick Marano in a morning address to the Northern Nevada Development Authority, said the city has needs including infrastructure improvements long delayed by the recession. That includes buying new fire equipment and sheriff’s patrol vehicles as well as some building maintenance projects.
“As you can see, we have thankfully come a long way since the decline of 2008,” Crowell said. “While we remain vigilant, it is also important that we recognize and indeed take advantage of the changing economics happening in Northern Nevada. We are not losing our history by any means but we are undergoing a significant economic diversification.
“As the capital of our state, we are the face of the state that deserves an infrastructure representative of that face.”
Crowell and the Board of Supervisors also took questions at the end, with Supervisor Brad Bonkowski — chairman of the Regional Transportation Commission — pushing for approval of the gas tax index on the November ballot in response to a question about road maintenance.
Another question pertained to using open space funding for road improvements, to that the mayor said the open space money was going to continue to be needed for maintenance and development of the city’s current open space.
The final question, from Donna Curtis, Parks and Recreation commissioner, on progress on the Ormsby House.
“I continue to have high hopes,” Crowell said about development on the Ormsby House.
“I’m still optimistic and I am gonna be optimistic until the day I die,” the mayor said drawing laughs from the sold out crowd.