Gardnerville residents attending a workshop at the former Eagle Gas Station on Saturday overwhelmingly thought the building should be preserved on the site.
Town Manager Tom Dallaire described three options to residents, two of which included removing the building. A third option that preserves the building on the site was a favorite with the two dozen that attended the Saturday session.
Mission Street resident Judy Mello expressed concern that someone unfamiliar with the intersection might attempt a left turn onto Highway 395.
“It’s virtually impossible to turn south onto Highway 395,” she said. “It’s unsafe.”
Mello voted to keep the gas station building on the property.
“What I love about option three is that the building’s a huge sound barrier for me, and it would be a shame to tear down the building.”
Ken Douglas suggested that instead of having an electric vehicle charger the town set up a war memorial.
Douglas, who served in the U.S. Navy as a corpsman, said Douglas County doesn’t have anything to recognize veterans.
“There should be a memorial for them,” he said.
Most residents were concerned with how larger vehicles would navigate the parking lot of the building.
Dallaire offered residents information about how much each option would cost.
All three of the proposed options had similar costs, though a proposal to tear down the gas station and then build restrooms was potentially the most expensive with an upper estimate of $455,000. The second option of converting the property to a parking lot with landscaping, but no restrooms, came in at $365,000, and fixing up the station and keeping it ran a high estimate of $416,000.
Dallaire said he doesn’t expect the town to pay the entire cost. He said he hopes to pay for the project using grants. The goal is to increase the number of onstreet parking spaces in town while providing an entrance to old Gardnerville.
The town came into possession of the gas station in June and has removed the signs and advertisements already.
Dallaire said workers tried to remove the cement berms, but that they’re very sturdy.
While the gas station’s tanks aren’t leaking, there is some contamination from before, and from a used oil tank that overflowed. With the gasoline tanks and lines certified, the town can participate in the state’s petroleum fund, which will provide money to remove the tanks.
That’s project is on hold while the town obtains grants needed to install flood controls, so the parking lot doesn’t have to be excavated twice.
Highway 395 at the S curve in Gardnerville is subject to flooding in as little as a 10-year flood, which refers to the 1 in 10 chance a flood of a certain size would occur in any given year.
Installing underground storm drains on the gas station property would provide a conduit for floodwaters off the highway.