For those who have been closely watching the reinvention of downtown Carson, everything is moving along according to the timetable set — in fact, at this point — the project is going faster than anticipated and the paving should be finished in early October instead of the middle as planned.
Yes, downtown will be mostly complete by Nevada Day as promised. This target date will be met with only a few minor items yet to complete after the parade, according to Danny Rotter, principal city engineer on the overall project.
Those minor details include the completion of the paver crosswalks, but other than that, the seat walls will be finished to allow more seating space for parade viewing. The trees and other vegetation will be planted within the seat walls around mid-September giving the overall streetscape a more finished look. Rotter predicts the planting will go quickly since it will be done all at once and the soil will have been prepared. Our Carson City Parks & Recreation Department will oversee this portion and then maintain it.
When asked about the design of the seat walls, Rotter stated, “The seat walls were always a part of the original design, but what is different is the look to match the sandstone used in the buildings. We had to design that since there were no stock patterns.”
In front of the capitol, there will be no sidewalk. You’ll still have to traverse this area, as you do today, inside the historic fence built by Hannah Clapp. Instead of sidewalk, there will be more grass, providing more greenspace.
Across the street in front of the three historic buildings now housing the Office of the Attorney General, the current sidewalk will be retained while adding seat walls and additional grass. This area will remain the shady portion of the city as it always has been.
As for parking, overall, there will be an addition of 20 parking spots on Carson Street where before there were none.
When queried as to the challenges faced, Rotter stated, “We never knew what we were going to face when we replaced the aging underground infrastructure. You thought you knew what you were going to face, but there were some surprises along the way. Much of our time was dealing with the underground issues before we could begin pouring cement.” The mostly 6-inch clay water and sewer lines had not been replaced since the 1950s. Today, those lines have been replaced by 8-inch PVC pipes.
The contractor has made every effort to accommodate businesses. Rotter credits Q&D construction with the idea and the fabrication of the business signage, “Q&D was very sensitive to business from the onset.” Also, “Traffic control continues to be a daily issue since we are trying to accommodate the businesses.”
In the middle of all this construction, Q&D was challenged to finish the Bob McFadden Plaza by June 30 and, miraculously, they did.
What about Curry Street, we asked? There just might be a bit of a breather for locals who have been circumventing the orange cones. Right now, the plan is to not do further road work during next year’s legislative session. Keep in mind, NDOT will be putting up plenty of orange cones — should we miss them — as they construct the Highway 50 South interchange.
The next step in the revitalization project is to attract the right mix of retail, bars and restaurants that will make the downtown a destination. We have built it, now we hope “they will come.”
Ronni Hannaman is the executive director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.