Chamber News & Views: Times, they are a’changin – for real this time! | NevadaAppeal.com

Chamber News & Views: Times, they are a’changin – for real this time!

by Ronni Hannaman
Carson City the Heart of Nevada white type
Carson City Chamber |

Carson City is truly the true heart of Nevada, a fact that we sometimes forget to celebrate.

In this our 150th Anniversary of Nevada Statehood, Carson City should be the center of all the attention with complete focus on our history and the pioneers and statesmen who created this unique state. Ours is a history book full of engaging stories needing to be told to create that sense of pride we sometimes find lacking.

While Nevada’s population base is south and the south is continuing to flex its muscle –even to the point of eclipsing our long-held Nevada Day Parade by holding their very first parade on Nevada’s actual admission day on October 31st this year (we’ve been relegated to holding our parade on November 1) – it’s Carson City and the surrounding counties that are at the forefront of all that is Nevada. Our history precedes statehood and many of those who were instrumental in creating Nevada are buried in our Lone Mountain Cemetery.

This city was once the center of it all and has not taken to its back seat status well. We are the kind of city that should be on everyone’s must visit list in their lifetime. Not just to play sports, gamble or to dine in one or two restaurants, but to enjoy the history that made Nevada the state it is today!

In fact, as I have written previously, I think Carson City has lost its way somewhere along the line by not embracing our unique history and allowing one historic building after another to be razed instead of rehabilitating it. So much history – other than the capitol – has been destroyed. But, we can’t look back, we need to look forward.

Renoitis is not what is going to define Carson City. As we go forward next month to learn how city staff and a few insiders have reimagined the downtown core and the corridors, we will get a glimpse into the future. Will we be the yuppie city touted by some? Will we retain a part of our past or will that be scrubbed as much of it was in the 1960’s? Will the yet again controversial narrowing of our main street and the widening of sidewalks be the ticket to increased pedestrians? In researching past photographs, our main street has undergone many remodels. Seemingly, we just cannot get it right!

Right now, the downtown – through private investment– is undergoing a metamorphosis without government dollars. The planned rehabs will attract locals and visitors. We are told the rehabbed buildings will retain their unique outer western character; however, expect to see all new interiors. There’s some new builds on the front burner as well: perhaps a hotel and convention facility along with a research facility, offices and shops. The parking lot of the Carson Nugget could well become the center of our universe. That was the plan when the library was the focus. The difference today is landholder Steve Neighbors is not seeking tax dollars, instead opting for private investment.

The Adams Hub is finished. The outside is a mix of contemporary and classic Carson City, but the inside is all attractively contemporary. Across the street, the former brewery building (aka Silver Spur) will soon be remodeled to accommodate another regional brewery and the brick façade will be retained and repaired. In many cities downtown breweries can be quite the draw.

The space recently vacated by Sassafras –formerly B’Sghetti’s – is now undergoing a complete remodel to feature a bar in the front of the not yet named restaurant. Those enjoying a glass of wine or other libation will be able to sit back and enjoy a front row seat as construction crews redefine this city yet again.

And, that’s not all going on in this building (locals remember it as Murdoch’s), now owned by Shaheen Beauchamp Builders, LLC. The venerable Cigar Bar off Curry Street is expanding and will be more comfortable. History buffs should know this building is not historic, replacing a much beloved soda fountain in the 1960’s. The late Art Hannifin revamped this building in the late 90’s, so it’s time for yet another makeover.

There’s already a whole new feel at the Carson Nugget. Gone is the thick air of smoke and the casino floor has been redesigned for easier navigation. New manager, Dean Delullo, has some great plans for the food outlets bringing a more contemporary feel to this venerable property. He’ll be bringing in named comedy acts to draw us into rediscovering the Carson Nugget.

We’re wondering just what the plans are for the former Citibank Building that now looks as though it should be in Afghanistan. This “bombed out” building is quite the eyesore. But, we think it’s probably much appreciated by the birds. And, dare I mention the Ormsby House? Once the center of this city’s universe, when opened, this could be the very heart of the city, for there is no other property quite like the Ormsby House.

We’re trying to work with the state to allow concerts and events on state-owned land. Once there were concerts and festivals allowed at the Legislative Park. We have the most beautiful park in the center of our city that cannot be properly used. It is here we should be able to attract art shows, festivals and more. Even the pocket park outside of the Laxalt Building is often vacant due to the many state governmental restrictions imposed.

I’ve written more than enough about the incredible possibility of a Third Street closure that could be one heck of a gathering place. This was brought home again when attending the recent Jazz & Beyond Music Fest. A permanent entertainment venue there would be an incredible asset.

Historic Curry Street has many unique historic structures, once home to our forefathers. As part of the master redevelopment plan, Curry Street will be showcased and possibly closed as a thoroughfare, giving the area a pedestrian mall feel.

There’s much going on right now and the plans continue to grow. In the past, many studies have been commissioned only to collect dust on some shelf. With the 1/8 cent being imposed October 1, expect to see at least some of the plans for the downtown come to fruition – after the athletic center and the animal shelter.

What Carson City is to become is still an unknown. Will we retain some of our uniquely Nevada history? Will we completely alter our image? Thank goodness for the capital complex. Will we really, really dig up those wonderful tree-lined medians in front of the capital in favor of three lanes – the third to be designated as a turn lane when there is already a turn lane? Will there be just a dozen voices redefining our future?

We ask all Nevada Appeal readers to weigh in, for this is your city and since YOU are paying the tab, you should have some say. Come to the various meetings soon to be announced and provide your perspective. Monday morning quarterbacking won’t work – you have to be a player. The Board of Supervisors mean business. The time is ripe for change and the money will be there. Let’s make this the kind of city that will make Renoites want to come here instead of us going there!

Weigh in to your supervisor and the Mayor. It’s easy. Just the first letter of the name, the last name @carson.org. For example: Rcrowell@carson.org. Or, write to us at director@carsoncitychamber.com. We would love to hear from you. n