CEDA director updates Democrats on downtown projects
The executive director of the Churchill Economic Development Authority stepped in as guest speaker Thursday to tell local Democrats how the community is excited about revitalizing the downtown corridor, starting first with the Fallon Theaters and moving down the block to the vacant Kent’s Grocery Store.
Rachel Dahl, who has been with CEDA for more than one year, first had her taste of business development when she served for two years as Shirley Walker’s assistant 23 years ago.
“What we want to do is to make our community as healthy and prosperous as possible,” Dahl told about 60 people at the annual Jefferson-Jackson Democrat Dinner at the Churchill County Museum.
Since Dahl was hired to become CEDA’s executive director, she has literally “hit the ground running” by seeking businesses that may want to relocate to the Lahontan Valley to improving on what the area offers. According to Dahl, though, CEDA’s goal is taking a look at the community and seeing what residents think is important to a vital Fallon.
“When I came on board, I had a fabulous board of directors, and my board did a lot of talking to people,” Dahl explained. “One of the things we focused on is our core downtown.”
She said CEDA’s goal is to attract new industry and help the current ones grow; consequently, she would also like to see new business hire new employees and pay them a good, living wage.
As for the downtown corridor, Dahl said the city of Fallon has done a great job by receiving more than $1 million in grants to beautify Maine Street and several side streets. Because the city has improved the attractiveness of the downtown area, Dahl and her board looked at two projects — Fallon Theaters and Kent’s — to kick start redevelopment.
Dahl said a nonprofit theater board that was formed asked the city to apply for a Community Development Block Grant, which would improve the outward appearance and inside amenities. Although the block grant was not approved, Dahl said fundraising efforts have begun, and a new $50,000 digital projector was installed Thursday in one of the theaters. The first movie shown there Friday was Academy winner “American Sniper.” Prior to the showing, Dahl said R & L Hyde steamed cleaned the seats, and volunteers made seat covers out of old denims and T-shirts.
Since the beginning of the year, Dahl said the community has been supportive, and fundraising efforts are gaining.
Dahl also gave an update on plans to turn the Kent’s Grocery Store, which quit selling food items in the mid-1990, into a centralized food hub in downtown Fallon. She said the hub will drive more traffic downtown.
“It makes our farming community strong and gives them a place for them to sell their goods, “she said.
Dahl began wiring a grant about one year ago, and she discovered Fallon had been awarded a grant last fall.
Now, Dahl, CEDA and community volunteers are looking at additional fundraising to meet their goals. Several months ago, Dahl said about 50 community leaders and businessmen and women attended a two-day workshop on meeting their goals for the hub.
In addition to the guest speaker, the Churchill County Democrats installed their new officers for a two-year term. They are Nyla Howell, chairwoman; Larry Jackson, vice chairman; Jeanette Strong, secretary; and treasurer, Sharon Hedges Hiller.
Lucas Ingalvasted, an aide for Sen. Harry Reid’s Reno office, presented a Senatorial Certificate of Commendation to Jackson for his contributions.
The Commendation was “In appreciation of your hard work, dedication, and contributions from the community.” The other award was for Carol Roeder, who has been treasurer for many years and did a lot of work for the Democrats.