Carson City now urban center |

Carson City now urban center

Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer
Cathleen AllisonDevelopment at the Northridge subdivision highlights Carson City's growth. Carson was designated an urban area on the federal registry Wednesday with a population of 58,263. That makes the capital city the state's third urban area.

Goodbye cow counties, hello city life.

Carson City said farewell to its official rural status Wednesday with recognition on the Federal Register as an “urban community,” population 58,263.

That makes the capital city the state’s third urban area behind Las Vegas, population 1,314,357, and Reno with 303,689 residents.

“It’s just evidence that Carson City is no longer the sleepy little town it was,” City Manager John Berkich said. “It will continue to go through growing pains as it becomes a larger small city.”

Despite the official designation, Mayor Ray Masayko speculated it will take “a long time to change perceptions.”

“It will take more than being on the Federal Register to change the perception that Las Vegas and Reno are the urban centers,” he said. “It takes time to change approaches at state level, but this helps.”

Carson City officials were suspicious of the certified population number and took a decidedly cautious approach to the news.

“That’s higher than expected,” Berkich mused. “It’s good in the sense you have a higher population, and that qualifies you for higher grant dollars. It’s a larger community for national retailers that act on that kind of data. It bodes well from an economic development standpoint.”

Berkich and Masayko have a pragmatic view of the city’s transition from rural to urban. It means little more than federal dollars helping with issues from transit to community development funding.

City officials have worked since the 2000 census to prepare the city to become a metropolitan planning organization, which opens the city to federal transportation funds, and an entitlement community, which would allow the city to receive Housing and Urban Development money.

But getting those federal designations have been waylaid while the city has awaited the certification of the 2000 census.

So until the designation actually brings money into Carson City, the capital is just another name on a list with the 76 other communities that were also designated as “urban” on Wednesday.

“We’re in between anticipation and delivery,” Masayko said. “It will be a while until we’re actually able to deliver programs to the citizens. Otherwise, (we’re) just another name in the Federal Registry. “

The Office of the Federal Register provides access to the official text of federal laws, presidential documents, administrative regulations and notices, and descriptions of federal organizations, programs and activities.