Fresh ideas: Time for the city to act on Not-So-Lucky Spur
Patience, patience, patience, it is a virtue and certainly our mayor and the mayor before him and supervisors and the supervisors before them have demonstrated patience with the owner of the Lucky Spur.
This property for anyone who is not familiar is the vacant casino on the corner of North Carson Street and Proctor Street, directly across from Garibaldi’s. It is the one that has been empty for more than 20 years. It is the one that has the facade strapped on with nylon rope. It is the proud home of hundreds of defecating pigeons.
With the exception of the buildings across from the Legislature which recently burned down, it is now virtually the only property on Carson Street in the redevelopment district that has not been refurbished.
As the Nevada Appeal points out in its Sept. 27 article headlined, “City plans bookends for the new downtown,” there are redevelopment projects proceeding at both ends of the redevelopment district on Carson Street.
To the north is the former Golden Spike, which is being transformed from an eyesore to a Victorian-styled retail/office center which will make a positive statement as the entry to Carson City’s downtown. On the south end of Carson Street, a 7,000 square foot one-of-a-kind restaurant is being built as part of a retail/office center.
All of this is exciting and is a testament to the success of Carson City’s redevelopment plan, but there is a malignant cancer, a festering sore, an unsightly decay in the center of this effort: the Not-So-Lucky Spur.
Has the city made an effort to work with the owner of this property? Absolutely. The city staff has talked with innumerable potential buyers or tenants in an effort to assist in the marketing of the property. The city has made incentive money available for the rehabilitation of the property. For over three years, the redevelopment agency set aside $100,000 solely for the purpose of encouraging the owner to rehabilitate this property. All of the city’s efforts as to this owner and this property have failed.
To some degree, the city is now backed into a corner. Clearly, redevelopment of Carson City’s downtown will not be complete until this building is either torn down or refurbished. The owner has resolutely refused to do either one. Instead he has been marketing the property at a price that is so outrageous as to be laughable to anyone remotely familiar with commercial property valuation.
At this point, the city can either live with the Lucky Spur and continue to watch it deteriorate or they can condemn the property through eminent domain and pay the owner fair market value. Condemnation would place the city in the driver’s seat and would allow the city to direct the development of the property in a manner that is consistent with its redevelopment plan.
Over the years I have consistently gone on record in support of private property rights; however, with private property rights come certain obligations and responsibilities. In the case of the Lucky Spur, the owner has failed to meet those obligations and responsibilities. When the property owner does not act as a responsible steward of his property, then he loses the privileges according to private property owners.
Unfortunately, that is the situation created by the owner of the Lucky Spur. It is time for our public officials to take action. They have been patient for long enough. It will take courage, it will take fortitude, it will take guts, but it must be done.
To allow the Not-So-Lucky Spur to remain in its present condition and to continue to deteriorate undermines the success of the entire redevelopment effort. It is a slap in the face to other property owners in downtown who have restored their properties, it is a detriment to the entrepreneurs who have demonstrated their dedication to downtown by investing their money, time and efforts in their downtown businesses and it is offensive to the citizens of Carson City and the tourists who visit here.
To let Mayor Masayko and the Carson City Supervisors know how you feel on this issue, you may call them at 887-2100, or write to them at 200 N. Carson St., 89701.
Linda E. Johnson is a wife, mother, attorney and has resided in Carson City for the past 24 years. She is vice-chairman, a charter member of Carson City’s Redevelopment Citizen’s Advisory Committee and is a downtown property owner.