PROGRESS: Carson City rises to meet challenges | NevadaAppeal.com

PROGRESS: Carson City rises to meet challenges

This past year has brought its share of change to Nevada’s capital, both sobering and promising.

Without a doubt, 2009 saw a slew of discouraging headlines, from retailers closing shop to unemployment figures climbing into the double digits as gaming revenues slipped throughout the state.

Still, many things went right in Carson City, which local leaders say could help make 2010 a year of recovery.

“2009 was the realization that there is a new normal,” said Rob Hooper, executive director of the Northern Nevada Development Authority. “I think that was the realization we all had to come to. And I believe we’re going to come out of the gates in 2010 strong and go in the right direction.”

Car dealers will be opening new sites along South Carson Street next year while city and local business leaders begin to push for an ambitious $87 million knowledge center and business incubator downtown.

By early 2010, the city’s Office of Business Development will present its finance plan to the board of supervisors to demonstrate how a public/private partnership between the Carson Nugget and the city could work.The project is one aspect of a larger plan to rejuvenate the city’s downtown area with walkable space, attractions and brighter storefronts, helped by diverting traffic off Carson Street and onto the U.S. 395 bypass, which this year extended to Fairview Drive.

Meanwhile, real estate found some footing in the residential market as first-time home buyers started to make purchases with the help of government tax credits and low interest rates.

Among other improvements in Carson City this year included the opening of the Virginia & Truckee Railroad, the Carson Lanes expansion, and a $9.6 million stimulus project at the Carson City Airport.

“And despite the closure of its anchor store earlier this year, the Carson Mall has seen a surge in interest, especially since the opening of Paul Schat’s Bakery in mid-October.

The Nevada Appeal adapted to the changing economy by making changes of its own, positioning the family owned newspaper to ride out the recession while continuing to serve the Northern Nevada market. While cutting two publication days was a difficult decision, that, combined with the switch to tabloid format, put the newspaper on solid financial footing, ensuring it will be around for another 150 years.

While Carson City business and government leaders say there is a lot to look forward to, there is plenty more to reflect upon, from the real estate market to local manufacturers.

“I think 2010 is still going to be a challenging year like 2009,” said Bruce Robertson, a senior adviser for commercial real estate firm Sperry Van Ness in Carson City. “There is more interest in our area, I can tell you that I’m very confident that I’ll have a better year in 2010 than 2009. There’s projects that are coming online that will be beneficial to the city, that’s for sure.”

– Nevada Appeal staff