Downtowner motel gets new owner |

Downtowner motel gets new owner

Kirk Caraway

The troubled Downtowner Inn has a new owner and a new name.

Betty Brinson, owner of Monsters Day Inn preschool and the Whistle Stop Inn, took over control of the North Carson Street property on Wednesday and is planning to clean the place up.

“I want to give a better image to Carson City,” Brinson said. “I’ve lived here 45 years, and I’ve heard a lot of interesting things about the Downtowner. So I decided I could come and redirect it, redo it.”

Brinson, wearing a T-shirt with the saying “Having a dream is good, owning one is better,” talked about her plans to clean up the Downtowner, starting with a new name – Back On Track Inn.

“I’m going to put a train around the sign, and have it going around the track, and we’ll all be back on track, Carson City and myself,” Brinson said. “I think we can do good for Carson City, I really do. I think it can work.”

Steve Paine will be managing the property for Brinson, and is already working on clean-up duties.

“We are going to try and clean the image up, that’s our first goal, get some of the undesirable elements out of here, and make it a more respectable place to stay,” Paine said. “We realize we have a rough road ahead of us, but we are ready to face that road, and we want to take it head on and clean it up.”

The property has a checkered history. It was shut down by the city in 2005 as a public health hazard. It reopened in 2007, but then-owner Ralph Ahmad lost his business license a year later for failing to pay room taxes. It then went into foreclosure this year, and was purchased by James DiMartino, who sold the property to Ahmad in 1998.

The motel was also known as a place where drugs and alcohol abuse were rampant.

“Word is already getting out that it’s no longer a haven for undesirables,” Paine said. “We want people to feel safe here.”

Paine said they will be pressure-washing the outside and planting flowers in the next few days to spruce up the image. Some of the rooms have been repainted and cleaned up as well, to bring everything up to code. And Brinson wants to replace the gray paint with a new, bright color, possibly fluorescent.

Brinson also wants to cater more to older people in need of a place to live.

“We want to offer rentals for older people who are on disability or Social Security, and we’ll see to it they don’t spend their entire Social Security check when they come in,” Brinson said. “We’ll talk to them, and whatever I can help them with, I will.”

The inn will rent out rooms nightly, weekly or monthly. Brinson said that this is a new experience for her, since the Whistle Stop Inn only rents out rooms on six-month leases. But she said she is determined to make this business work.

“I’m a little overwhelmed right at this point, but I know I’m going to make it,” she said.