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Downtown Reno Partnership donating up to $180K to beautify ReTRAC Plaza

NNBW staff report
A look at the conceptual plan to enhance the ReTRAC Plaza in downtown Reno.
Courtesy City of Reno
CORRECTION: This story's headline has been updated to correctly report that the Downtown Reno Partnership is donating the $130,000 in cash, plus $50,000 in in-kind services, to the city of Reno. The original headline reported that downtown businesses were donating the money. The NNBW apologizes for the error.

RENO, Nev. — At its Aug. 26 meeting, Reno City Council approved a $130,000 cash donation from the Downtown Reno Partnership for the “ReTRAC Lid Enhancement Project.”

According to an Aug. 27 press release from the city, the DRP has been working with the city, its residents and downtown businesses to create a conceptual plan to enhance ReTRAC Plaza, including a community survey to collect input on the perception of the ReTRAC East Plaza, the concrete and dirt space between Whitney Peak Hotel and the Eldorado on Virginia Street to Sierra Street.

“In the heart of downtown next to the iconic Reno Arch, the ReTRAC lids are going from bland to brilliant,” Reno City Councilmember Neoma Jardon said in a statement. “Thank you to the Downtown Reno Partnership for the generous donation. And thank you to the many volunteers who are helping to make this a vibrant, inviting destination for visitors and residents.”

In all, the donation approved Aug. 26 is for up to $180,000 from the DRP — $130,000 in cash and up to $50,000 in in-kind services.

Alex Stettinski, executive director of the Downtown Reno Partnership, said of those totals, $80,000 in cash is being donated directly from the partnership, taken from a DRP board-approved fund that is restricted specifically for improvements along the Virginia Street corridor.

The extra $50,000 in cash comes from a Nevada Main Street grant the partnership received recently from the Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development, which is to be used to beautify the ReTRAC area.

As for the up-to $50,000 in-kind figure, Stettinski said the Nevada Landscape Association has pledged support for the ReTRAC project and has committed to volunteer work for the initial landscaping and also maintenance of the landscaped areas. In addition, engineering firm Stantec has provided in-kind services to help get the project started.

According to the city’s Aug. 27 press release, the first phase of improvements will include new trees, flowers, landscaping and irrigation. According to the city, staff expects to have a landscaping contract ready by December, and have construction completed by April 2021.

The donation comes a month after Council accepted a $25,000 grant on July 22 from Bloomberg Philanthropies for the Asphalt Art Initiative which will go toward the creation of a mural on the ReTRAC Plaza.

According to the city, the Reno Arts and Culture Commission will work to secure a nationally recognized artist.

“The mural will be painted directly on the ground and should last for three years with minimal maintenance,” per the city.

Interested artists can find more information at RenoCulture.com under Call for Artists. The deadline to apply is Oct. 5 at 11:59 p.m.

“We are truly grateful for Bloomberg Philanthropies and their support of arts and culture in the City of Reno Reno,” Mayor Hillary Schieve said in a statement. “We know that our citizens and downtown businesses have long wanted to activate the ReTRAC Plaza, so these two projects are a welcome addition to the The Biggest Little City.”

This story was updated Tuesday morning, Sept. 8, with additional commentary and information from the Downtown Reno Partnership.