For those of us who work in Minden and Gardnerville, the view has been a little less than stellar.
Empty store fronts continue to stare blankly out onto Highway 395 in both towns. On Esmeralda Avenue, Douglas County’s Main Street, the C.O.D. Garage remains empty. Out on the highway, a stretch along the curve in Minden is all but abandoned after the departure of Michael Hohl and the gas station next door.
Gardnerville’s downtown has its share of empty buildings, including the East Fork Hotel, built more than 100 years ago, and the building at Eddy Street which has been many things over its long life.
Add to that the big honkin’ highway and S-curve, which make pedestrian traffic perilous on good days.
But just because it’s bad doesn’t mean it can’t be better.
Gardnerville in the last decade has made strides in improving the appearance of downtown, taking down power poles and replacing them with decorative lights and trees. Private owners have done wonders in Gardnerville, with the J.T. Basque Bar & Dining Room and the neighboring garage showpieces of what can be done. Main Street Gardnerville has contributed greatly to bringing people downtown to see how much improvement there’s been.
In Minden, reopening The Bank as a popular bar offers hope for the future. But no matter how hard these folks work, and they’ve been working hard, there is one thing that continues to wind through the heart of Minden and Gardnerville, and that’s Highway 395. Until at least a good portion of the traffic can be diverted around the center of town, the words pedestrian and friendly will continue to be a contradiction of terms when applied to the towns.