Plans to extend North Stewart Street and give crowded-in commuters another arterial for north-south travel through the congested center of town are under way, though there are obstacles - such as two houses and two multi-plexes.
Carson City supervisors are scheduled to appoint an appraiser on Thursday to take a look at the four parcels and determine their worth. At least two of the property owners, while not excited about selling, are resigned to the fact that they probably will.
"All we can do is the best that we can do," said Beth Fry, who along with her husband, Gold, owns a duplex on East Park Street where designs show a future Stewart Street.
Fry is worried that whatever the city offers won't be enough to replace the duplex she rents out for a total of $1,700 a month, however. First, she'll be losing the income. Second, "there aren't any duplexes available in Carson City" to replace it, she said.
Then there's the renters to think about.
"They're families. We really don't want to displace them," Fry said.
Barbara Welch, whose parents lost the second-generation family home in Reno to a freeway in the 1960s, has owned her home on East Park Street for 30 years and is scheduled to make the last payment within the year.
Welch doesn't live in the home now. Around 1984, she moved in with her ill father, who has since passed away. And last year, the man who was staying in the house died of cancer. Welch was "looking forward to getting back in and getting it back to being my home" until she got a call from an appraiser last week informing her of the city's intentions.
"I believe everything happens for a reason," she said. "Clearly I am not supposed to be living in this house for the rest of my life."
Stewart Street, she said, needs to go somewhere.
"It's a good thing. For years I've looked at Stewart (Street) and thought what a shame it basically just dead-ends."
Owners of the other two parcels in the path of the proposed street extension could not be reached for comment but Don Winne Jr., son of the owner of a tri-plex at 1212 Johnson St., said he doesn't see the sense in the project at all.
The several-block extension of Stewart Street, Winne said, will in effect make a large loop from North Roop Street to South Roop Street and will probably be unnecessary when the freeway opens, but the city will be demolishing affordable housing, such as his father's, to build it.
Chris Reed, 20, who lives in one of Winne's units, said there's a need for more such homes in Carson City. Reed is currently collecting unemployment and said he was still able to move into the $650-a-month, two-bedroom apartment. Other places he found in town came with price tags closer to $800 a month.
"It's hard to find a place like that around here," Reed said.
The extension plan calls for stretching Stewart Street from its current ending at William Street north to Moody Street. Moody Street will be shortened and dead end near East Park Street, where the new Stewart Street will take over in its place.
The plan also includes a possible cul-de-sac on Corbett Street that would connect property the city recently purchased from the First Christian Church of Carson City to the Carson City School District's alternative high schools. Deputy City Engineer John Flansberg said the city will need a slice of the high schools' property and there's been talk with the district of a land-swap, using the church property.
When it's done, predicted to be in 2007, the extension will give commuters an option for north-south travel through the city's congested core aside from heavily used Roop and Carson streets, say transportation officials. It will also give the city room to further widen Roop Street.
The city widened a portion of Roop Street from Beverly Drive to Winnie Lane this year - the grand reopening is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday - and is planning to make it at least four lanes for its entire length. Without an extended Stewart Street, however, there wouldn't be any place to redirect traffic from the heavily used Roop.
The widening of Roop will likely resume in 2008, after the Stewart Street extension is finished.
n Contact reporter Cory McConnell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1217.
If you go
WHAT: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. Thursday
WHERE: Sierra Room of the Carson City Community Center, 851 E. William St.