County residents will gather at 10 a.m. today to dedicated a $2 million new look for Nevada’s oldest town.
“We want to make sure people come out and experience what has really been a transformation,” County Manager Steve Mokrohisky said. “The goal of this whole project is to amplify what’s already there — the culture, the history. I think that this project combined with the Vista Trail and the improvements in the downtown area really show the transformation of this destination, and the creation of a mainstreet environment.”
Douglas County commissioners approved spending $2.2 million in redevelopment money on the town in April 2011. While partially due to county fears that the Nevada Legislature would raid county redevelopment funds to balance the state budget, the town improvements were part of Genoa’s main street landscaping plan.
The proposal included building the Vista Trail between Genoa and 1862 David Walley’s Hot Springs and Resort. The 1.3-mile trail was dedicated in January. The $750,000 trail was funded by the Douglas County Redevelopment Agency with a $100,000 grant from Nevada State Lands, Question 1 Program, through The Nature Conservancy.
Work on the downtown improvements began just as work on the trail was wrapping up. The improvements included removing the island in downtown Genoa, along with a handful of power poles. Two public parking lots were paved and landscaped, and several kiosks installed to provide information about the town. The entire project was topped off by entrance signs on the north and south ends of town.
Mokrohisky said the improvements to Genoa were just the beginning for Douglas County’s downtown cores.
“The big picture throughout Douglas can be seen through the captured themes of preserving our natural environment and heritage,” he said. “We see that in the lands bill, putting development where it should be and preserving watershed and ranchland for the future. We’re doing the same thing at Lake Tahoe, enhancing lake clarity, and enhancing and redeveloping our downtown cores. Genoa is the first example of taking a vision created by residents and businesses and bringing it to fruition. Genoa is a great example of why we create a vision. You can’t accomplish what you want a community to look like if you don’t plan for it.”
Mokrohisky said the Genoa improvements were driven by the townspeople and town businesses.
“Community revitalization doesn’t work well when it’s dictated by government or big business,” he said. “It works well when everyone’s engaged around a common vision. It was Genoa coming forward and saying this is what we want for our community, and the county asking ‘what can we do to help?’ That’s what we’re going to celebrate on Saturday, a partnership between all the individuals and groups. But Genoa is the leader as we look at preserving our natural heritage. I hope Genoa is a shining example of what we can do in the rest of our downtown corridors.”