Downtown Carson time capsule will be dug up Tuesday

Predictions made 10 years ago for downtown made Carson City will be the most anticipated thing when the contents of a time capsule are unveiled at noon Tuesday on the Legislative Plaza.

In 1990 the newly formed Carson City Mainstreet organization buried a time capsule in the Legislative Plaza with a variety of items, including predictions from its members.

At that time, downtown Carson City was at its nadir with dozens of empty buildings and an overwhelming rundown look. The private, non-profit Mainstreet organization brought together business owners to find a way to rejuvenate downtown.

Together with the Carson City Redevelopment Authority, Mainstreet has brought new life to downtown, filling nearly all of the buildings. Also, many structures were refurbished with redevelopment incentives suggested by Mainstreet.

Time capsules usually stay buried for much longer than 10 years. But 10 years can seem like many more considering the changes that have come to downtown since then.

"We wanted to see what kind of changes and improvements there would be in 10 years," said Maxine Nietz, the organization's chairwoman until 1994. "We were right. There has been enormous improvement."

Nearly everybody involved in burying the time capsule a decade ago is still involved in the organization, which has since become the Downtown Mainstreet Council within the Carson City Area Chamber of Commerce.

One founding Mainstreet member, however, will miss the time capsule excavation. Dick Murray became involved in Mainstreet as soon as he moved to Carson City in 1989.

Also a long-time columnist at the Nevada Appeal, Murray died less than a month ago on April 20. The time capsule ceremony will be dedicated to the memory of Murray.

Downtown Mainstreet members filled out prediction cards in 1990 that were sealed in the capsule. These cards will be reviewed and scored on Tuesday.

Each of 18 questions is worth 5 points. The person whose card has the highest score will win a fully-matured $1,000 certificate of deposit.

The winner may end up being the person with the best prediction of gasoline prices.

"We will find out who predicted the future the best," Nietz said.


People filling out prediction cards for the time capsule buried May 16, 1990, were asked 18 questions about what they thought downtown Carson City would be like May 16, 2000. Each correct answer is worth 5 points. The prediction card scoring the most point earns its author a fully-matured certificate of deposit worth $1,000.

1. Who or what organization will be occupying the old Nevada State Library building? (Answer: the Nevada Commission on Tourism)

2. Will the Carson City bypass have been completed? (No)

3. What percentage of the State of Nevada will be owned by the federal government? (87 percent)

4a. Will there be a city transit system? (Kind of)

4b. If so, what will it be? (bus)

5. Will a dam have been constructed between Lahontan and the headwaters of the Carson River? (No)

6. Will water for Carson City be imported from neighboring jurisdictions? (No)

7. Will the median strips along Carson Street have been removed? (No)

8. Will onstreet parking have been restored to Carson Street? (No)

9. What will be the cost of the local daily newspaper? (50 cents)

10. What will be the average advertised cash price of regular unleaded gasoline at the stations along Carson Street? (at least $1.60 per gallon)

11. What will it cost to mail a First Class letter? (33 cents)

12. Will the Legislature be meeting annually (instead of bi-annually)? (Not yet)

13a. Will gaming revenues still be Nevada's primary source of income? (Yes)

13b. If not, what other revenue source will have replaced gaming?

14. Will a corporate income tax have been imposed? (No)

15. Will a state tax on personal income have been imposed? (No)

16. Will underground nuclear testing still be conducted in Nevada? (No)

17. Will man have reached the planet Mars? (No, and even unmanned missions failed)

18. Will there be a Democrat or Republican in the White House? (a Democrat)

Bonus: What will the prize CD be worth rounded to nearest $10?

Tie-breaker: What will the population of Carson City be, rounded to nearest 10?


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