Historic moment for Carson City, and many windows still boarded up | NevadaAppeal.com

Historic moment for Carson City, and many windows still boarded up

Becky Bosshart
Appeal Staff Writer
Local business owners are concerned about the negative impact the boarded-up windows may have on next week's presidential candidate forum. Cathleen Allison/ Nevada Appeal

The attention of the nation will be focused on Carson City this Wednesday for the first presidential candidate forum of the 2008 contest, and what many consider the most attractive part of the city – the downtown corridor – is lined with boarded-up windows.

A rash of shootings that broke out more than 25 windows in the capital city this week came at an unfortunate time.

Eight Democratic presidential candidates, including former first lady Hillary Clinton, and about 200 members of the national media will converge at the Carson City Community Center on William Street.

“That doesn’t happen every day, and we want the city to look nice,” said Scott Doerr, owner of B’Sghetti’s restaurant in downtown Carson City. “Unfortunately now it has a lot of black eyes.”

The restaurant’s two front plate-glass windows were shattered Monday by an vandal with a pellet gun and a slingshot on a rampage from Stateline to Gardnerville. The convicted arsonist is in custody in Douglas County and is expected to be charged in the Carson City shootings. The community center is less than a mile from the downtown area, where most of the vandalism occurred.

Doerr had one new window installed Thursday. The second window was broken during installation. He expects to have the plywood replaced in time for Wednesday’s forum.

Hanifin’s Arts & Antiques has to special order three large, plate-glass windows. They probably won’t arrive for another week. A few businesses had their windows repaired this week, but Stew’s Sportatorium got their request in a little late. They still have plywood on their door.

“The glass companies are backed up with all the new business they got,” said Scott Johnson, co-owner of the downtown restaurant and sports bar.

Carson City Mayor Marv Teixeira said the distinguished visitors will look up and see the C Hill American flag, not a few plywood-covered windows.

“This is great visibility for the community,” he said. “You can’t buy this kind of publicity.”

The local and state tourism bureaus are taking advantage of the influx of visitors.

“We are going to distribute a fact sheet about Nevada that will contain bullet points for busy reporters to look at, to open their eyes to aspects of Nevada that they may not have thought of before,” said Chris Chrystal, spokeswoman for the Nevada Commission on Tourism.

The fact sheet highlights several tourist venues, such as the many golf courses, historic towns and outdoor recreation, that could be missed with just a “small pass through town.”

“We’re going to work it to the best of our ability,” Chrystal said.

Local business is keeping in mind appearances, but nothing special is planned for Mills Park or other public areas.

“We hope to have the park standing tall, looking good,” said Roger Moellendorf, Carson City parks and rec director. “I think our routine efforts will pay off.”

Nevada Department of Transportation crews will patrol Highway 395 on Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the arrival of all the candidates “to make sure there is nothing unsightly,” said a spokesman. Crews will be on the lookout for any graffiti.

• Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at bbosshart@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1212.