Jim Smolenski: Chamber urges prudence on redevelopment
Over the years, Carson City has seen a number of exceptional redevelopment projects, some funded by our city and others solely by private business.
Many may recall the blight of the old Supply One site in south Carson City that today houses a thriving casino, a Courtyard by Marriott and a sorely needed theater. All were built by private dollars. Note also the new auto dealers that are being built on formerly vacant lots that were given a boost by redevelopment funds.
Bodines Casino certainly has spruced up our south end even further, and as a result, we now have an outdoor arena that was formerly quite blighted. Consider, too, the revitalization of the old Walmart, bringing us the Burlington Coat Factory. And, let’s all give a huge cheer for Costco.
For those who have lived here more than 10 years, you may recall the unsightly Silver City Mall. Remember the boarded Ernst Building? North Carson City now has Walmart back in a new and better reincarnation that has spurred development in this part of our city.
Look at our new state-of-the-art hospital. And, is there any better example of a redevelopment project than the transformation of the St. Charles Hotel, now home to The Firkin and Fox and privately funded?
Those projects are but a tip of the iceberg of all the great projects the city and the private sector have accomplished in the past 10 years.
Is the Chamber of Commerce against redevelopment or growth? Absolutely not!
Our message is one of caution in light of what has happened to aggressive redevelopment in many cities, including Reno just 30 miles to the north. After reading these tales of woe, can the taxpayers of this city afford not to be cautious at a time when the economy is so low?
Be assured the Chamber has always been in strong support of growth, for growth brings business and prosperity. That is what any Chamber is about – growth and prosperity.
Following is the message brought forth by the Chamber to the Board of Supervisors on Jan. 21:
“The Carson City Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors fully appreciates all that is being done by the Carson Nugget and the Office of Business Development to redevelop our downtown to make it an exciting place to live, work and play.
“The Chamber cannot fully endorse such a massive and expensive project until additional information and transparency is forthcoming regarding the details of the project.
“We are also concerned about encumbering future generations and property owners in a project that would best be served by encouraging private dollars and development first and foremost.”
• Jim Smolenski is chairman of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce board of directors.