The 17th annual Parade of Lights will begin at Heritage Park in downtown Gardnerville this year instead of Lampe Park.
Organizers for the Dec. 1 event said the new starting point will shorten the parade route, preventing unnecessary exposure to the cold, and allow the Town of Gardnerville to showcase its holiday light display at the park.
"We've had some feedback the last couple years when it was cold, and people said the parade was too long. There are a lot of kids who participate, whether marching or riding a float," said Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Chernock. "The town also liked the idea of starting at Heritage Park with their Christmas lights display. They determined they could do the staging. And there's the added benefit of no longer having to close Waterloo and 395."
With 40-50 parade entries expected this year, Chernock hopes the crowds will adjust to the new route, which ends in Minden Park.
"I hope folks make that adjustment and slide on down," he said. "It should make viewing more fun and compact."
The parade starts at 5 p.m., with road closures expected by 3:30 p.m., including Gilman Avenue between Highway 395 and Chichester Drive. The town has waived its 60-day noticing requirement and $300 road closure fee for the event.
"I think this will make it a better event if access can be provided on Douglas Avenue as well," said Gardnerville Town Manager Tom Dallaire. "Moving to Heritage Park will free up Walgreens and all those businesses on the corner of Waterloo, and it will free up Kingslane, which is land-locked as well."
Beside Christmas lights, Dallaire said, Heritage Park will have music, firepits, heaters and a PA system for announcements.
"People should come on out and enjoy downtown earlier," he said, "and watch the parade start."
n In other news, Gardnerville town board members approved a land division application Tuesday night for a 30-unit housing project on Stodick Parkway that would help fill a need for senior affordable housing.
The application, which is now headed to the planning commission, subdivides 8.26 acres into three parcels, with the smallest being 1.21 acres. The subject property is zoned multifamily residential and had been slated for affordable housing under a previous development.
New Beginnings Housing, LLC, is seeking the land division to build a 30-unit complex called Parkway Vista. The company has been awarded $612,000 in low-income housing tax credits from the Nevada Housing Division, with which to complete the project. The complex would offer 1- or 2-bedroom apartments for seniors living at 50 percent or below the area's median income, which, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, is $44,518.
The company expects to complete the project by December 2013 and hopes to pursue future phases as well.
"While Douglas County has many affordable rental units for family households, there are currently no affordable rental units for seniors or disabled households in the county," states the housing element in the 2011 Douglas County Master Plan Update.