Museum, commercial uses seen for Nevada State Prison

A Nevada State Prison museum coupled with commercial and light industrial uses on prison grounds could help preserve Carson City’s historic prison complex, according to a report reviewed Thursday.

A combined meeting of city government’s Cultural Commission and Historic Resources Commission heard a presentation on the report’s recommendations for the Nevada Legislature. It was delivered by Tom Porada, a member of both the Nevada State Prison Preservation Society and the steering committee of stakeholders charged with making such recommendations.

“We’re probably not going to get funding from the state,” said Porada, which he noted was the reason for a two-tiered structure recommendation calling for a museum and light industry/commercial uses to help pay the freight. The recommendations were sought by the Legislature when it passed Assembly Bill 356, sponsored by Assemblyman Pete Livermore of Carson City, to spur the preservation movement.

Porada emphasized ideas under consideration in the report don’t prohibit others.

“Nothing is off the table at this point,” he said. “No one has said ‘no’ to anything yet.”

But he said an inventory of prison complex buildings and broad concepts on using those facilities were the focus of the steering committee as correctional activities wind down at the prison complex. The report’s executive summary said the vision is a development of a multi-use facility that in one category includes:

A museum in the historic portion; a location for special events of historic or community interest, and a location for scientific and cultural research.

Regarding the other aspect, the summary calls for: industrial activities in modern structures on the site; potential involvement of the Silver State Industries Division of the state Department of Corrections, and other commercial ventures “that benefit the state and promote the integrity of NSP.”

The report goes to the next regular session of the Legislature for possible action when it meets in February.


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