Mired in mud, businesses digging out
Appeal Staff Writer
Carson City businesses are cleaning up after a weekend of mud and flood waters, which kept away New Year’s shoppers and left parking lots and sidewalks inches deep in the kind of muck they haven’t seen since the destructive 1997 flood.
The grimy mud that came down the mountain and swept into west Carson City, pooling in the Carson Mall parking lot, compelled one downtown business owner to rent his own Bobcat front loader. Michael Robbins has up to 6 inches of mud around his business, Hanifin’s Antiques at 210 N. Carson St.
“I’ll clean up as much as I can, but we need 50 to 100 of these Bobcats out here,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “I don’t see anyone else doing it and I don’t feel like starving this winter. I’d like to have some customers.”
His plan is to pile the mud, but he doesn’t know what to do with it then. City officials haven’t told him where he should take it, Robbins said.
Andy Burnham, city public works director, said any mud can be brought to the city landfill at no cost. The managers of the Carson Mall began moving their mud piles to the landfill Tuesday, he said.
“Mud that’s in the street and the sidewalks, we will come through and haul all that out as soon as the snow melts, and it’s supposed to be 50 degrees tomorrow.”
Burnham said that work will probably begin today and continue for the rest of the week. The work will begin in the hardest hit areas of west Carson City. Street closure will be kept at a minimum.
The muddy floodwaters that seeped beneath shop doors wasn’t bad news for everyone. A carpet-cleaning van was parked on a small, snow-covered road off Curry Street.
“We’ve been working straight since New Year’s Eve,” said Joe Zich, owner of Floor Masters Carpet Cleaning & Repair, of Carson City. “My workers get four to six hours of sleep and then go straight to a job.”
In addition to extracting water, his workers have also taken soot and burned debris out of homes and businesses off Curry Street. City officials warned residents that rain would roll down the Waterfall burn area in the mountains west of Carson City. Yards, homes and streets were covered in soot from a fire that burned a year and a half ago.
Mary Shuler, who owns a beauty shop behind the barricades on Curry Street, said the water flowed over the sandbags in front of her door and ruined the carpeting in her 400-square-foot space. She closed from Saturday until Tuesday.
Melanie Hadjes, a Mercury Cleaners employee, said she spent two and a half hours on Monday cleaning a wave of mud that made it halfway though the entire store. Because of the barricades in the center of Curry Street, some customers picking up their dry cleaning stopped in the lane, blocking traffic.
“In the future I think I’ll make sure that I have a laminated sign up saying that if anyone needs their dry cleaning they can call me so that I can deliver it to them,” she said.
Farther south on Carson Street, the Carson Station was an island. After the water receded, the mud was left behind. Now it’s piled in the northwest corner of the employee parking lot, taking up six spaces.
“They wanted to protect the historic buildings so they diverted the water and it went straight into the businesses that were open,” said Bill Howard, director of operations for the Carson Station. “But, all in all, I think we fared pretty well, considering.”
The Station Grille canceled its New Year’s Eve party because the parking lot, which is beside the Carson Mall, was a lake. The 1105 S. Carson St. grill closes for the first two weeks out of the year for employee vacations.
Sylvia Sparks, president of Bonanza World Travel, which is located on the north side of the Carson Mall, got a call from the sheriff’s office at 3:15 a.m. Saturday to tell her that water was coming into her business. Little damage was done to her office because she was able to get there within half an hour and put sandbags around the outside walls.
“Make sure the sheriff’s office has your home number,” she said. “It’s common sense, but it saved my butt.”
Sales on Monday redeemed business lost at Gotchy Family Shoes when it had to close on Saturday.
“Monday, we were open and we had quite a bit of business,” said owner James Gotchy. “I sold eight to 10 pairs of snow boots and foul-weather shoes.”
Carson City woman Barbara Dull wasn’t shopping at the Carson Mall on Tuesday morning – she was walking it for exercise.
“I can’t walk at my usual place at the Carson Middle School because it’s a muddy mess,” she said.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.