Tree planting begins as downtown Carson City work hits homestretch
A welcome sight is returning to downtown Carson Street.
This week marks the start of tree planting in the concrete planters on the newly-constructed and wider sidewalks along the stretch of Carson Street from William to 5th streets.
About 100 trees will be planted over the next month or so, according to Danny Rotter, engineering manager.
The landscaping will comprise a mix of thornless honey locust, trident maple, Amur maple, crabapple, hackberry and Callery pear.
The familiar purple robe locust will not be replanted because it doesn’t thrive here.
All underground work on utilities is now complete on the downtown corridor construction project.
This week Q&D Construction Inc. workers will continue on the sidewalks on the east side of Carson Street around Proctor and Musser streets.
Preparation work to do final paving on the road will take place Sept. 6-9, which will require 24-hour road closures on Carson Street between Musser and 5th streets.
Paving will again close that same portion on Sept. 14-15 and Carson Street from William to Musser streets on Sept. 15-16.
Final paving will be completed sometime in October, said Rotter.
Also, Bob McFadden Plaza is getting its finishing touches, including completion of the enclosure around the splash pad mechanics, lighting for the stage and, in a few weeks, benches.
“The opening of Bob McFadden Plaza was huge, a big momentum swing,” Rotter said. “Everyone could see a little bit of the finished product.”
The city is looking at ways to make the splash pad safer. Signs were put up warning kids not to run after some slipped on it so the city is looking at other options, including diamond cutting the surface.
The remaining construction is on track and should be essentially complete by Nevada Day, said Rotter, when the city may hold some kind of ribbon-cutting ceremony.
He expects Q&D to come back after the holiday to finish the crosswalk pavers, but nothing will interfere with the parade.
No one will be happier the end is in sight than the corridor’s businesses.
“If business doesn’t pick up we’ll be closing our doors soon,” said Yvette Barrett, owner, Mystique Restaurant & Lounge.
Barrett says business is down at her Carson Street eatery about 66 percent since February.
The restaurant opened in December 2015 and last week resumed serving lunch after stopping for a few months due to the slowdown.
Barrett said lunch regulars have already returned.
She has been pleased with the city’s responsiveness. When construction equipment and portable toilets were parked in front of her building Barrett called Nick Marano, city manager, who had them removed that day, she said.
Carson Jewelry & Loan, too, has been happy with the city’s help. The store contacted the city to see if some of the pavers being put into the sidewalk could be placed outside the shop door and designed into a diamond shape, which was done.
“The city was very open to suggestions,” said Mark Schmidt, manager.
And Q&D responded quickly when some water leaked into the store’s basement after a rainstorm, said Schmidt.
Still, business in the jewelry store is down 30 percent, he said, while its loan business hasn’t been affected.
Some businesses even report an increase in customers during construction.
“We’re up about 25 percent over last year,” said Rowan Colgan, owner, Westside Pour House on Telegraph Street. “I attribute it to our friendly staff.”
Some of the other businesses are more immune to the disruption because they’re unique destinations.
“Most people know we’re here or are sent here by the visitors bureau of the Chamber,” said Janet Baker, director, Nevada Day, which organizes the parade and manages a Telegraph Street storefront featuring Nevada-made items. “If people want to come here they find a way. Main gripe I hear is people say there’s no place to park.”
Hanifin’s Arts & Antiques store on Carson Street is more of a destination, too, with customers coming from Reno, Lake Tahoe and the Bay Area, said Michael Robbins, the store’s owner.
“This is nothing compared to a few years ago. I was close to going out of business a couple years ago,” said Robbins. “In the long run, I think our business will be much improved.”