Funding to turn Nevada State Prison into tourism spot cut by legislative panel
The Nevada State Prison and tourism’s popular public television show Outdoor Nevada were two of the casualties Friday as lawmakers closed budgets in the governor’s office.
The special projects budget list included $250,000 for the Nevada State Prison Preservation Society to pay for projects necessary to allow public access to the historic prison. Public access to the prison on East 5th Street would enable the society to begin raising money by offering tours of the prison. Former Director of Corrections Glen Whorton said those funds would begin paying to convert the prison that dates to before Nevada became a state into a museum.
The vote on the eight-member Finance Committee was split with three Republican members, Ben Kieckhefer, Pete Goicoechea and James Settelmeyer, opposing the cut.
“We need to make progress down the road,” said Kieckhefer, a sentiment echoed by his two colleagues.
Without the money, Whorton said they can’t do the safety projects needed to make the prison safe for public access. Those include several ADA upgrades, walkway handrails, restroom improvements and electrical repairs among others.
He said that puts the museum project on hold for another two years.
In addition, members of finance voted unanimously to cut the $832,000 in Gov. Steve Sisolak’s recommended budget for another season of Outdoor Nevada.
The money would have paid for production of 26 new episodes of the series that focuses on the historic and tourist attractions of rural Nevada.
Tourism staff has indicated they were working to position Outdoor Nevada for broadcast by the Create Channel, a nationwide channel that reaches 46 million viewers and could attract grants and other funding opportunities for the series.
But the committee voted to approve $100,000 each year of the coming biennium for the Holocaust Education program and $25,000 for support of the Nevada Civil Air Patrol.