2005 - a great time to be living in Carson City! Exciting, fun, and wonderful things are happening before our very eyes. Newcomers have no idea how long it has taken and how much effort has gone into many of the projects that are coming to fruition now. Patience and persistence are the watchwords of these accomplishments.
• With the exception of a thriving pigeon population, the Lucky Spur on the corner of Proctor and Carson Street was abandoned for more than 25 years. This building, rated the number one eyesore in Carson City, was the subject of many editorials, letters to the editor and, on occasion, this column. Now, Stew's Sportatorium is a vibrant meet and greet place for just about everyone. Friendly bartenders and servers, well-priced cocktails, and good food served in a lively ambiance are a welcome addition to our historic center. Stew's has re-energized Carson's downtown, so if you haven't checked it out yet, do so. It's cool.
• In the fun category, the V&T Railroad project has been in the works for more than 10 years and finally, finally, finally, it is about to become a reality. Well, the funding is in place, the construction has started and in a few years, we will be taking our children and grandchildren for a ride on the V&T Railroad. While there is a lot of credit to go around, Janice Ayres kept chugging along when others jumped off the boxcar and gave up - once again persistence and patience prevail.
• Another example of persistence paying off, for years, Mary Fisher, founder of GROW, refused to give up on her vision of a fully landscaped bypass in Carson City. As a result NDOT installed the infrastructure to allow for landscaping to be planted along the new bypass and through the efforts of Senator Harry Reid and Mayor Marv, GROW received a $2 million grant that will provide the resources to purchase and install the plant materials. Long-term, this improvement will demonstrate the respect we have for ourselves, our community and for the natural beauty of our area.
• The Carson City Downtown Redevelopment envisioning process held this fall was an enormous success with more than 500 people attending and providing input. As CC transitions from having federal Highway 395 cutting through the heart of its downtown, this process will provide direction for years to come. In addition, the expansion of the Redevelopment District to include the little tenderloin fomenting on the north corridor of Carson Street will provide an opportunity to head that problem off before it spreads and worsens.
• I am so proud of our city for acknowledging that we, like most towns, have a drug problem with methamphetamine being at the center of it. Not only have we acknowledged it, we are hitting it upside the head, slapping it in the face and gut punching it.
With more than 50 people working on various sub-committees, the Carson City Anti-Meth Coalition is already stemming the spread of this insidious plague. Law enforcement is receiving additional training and they are assigning specialists to focus on the problem, new ordinances are being considered to let meth users and dealers know that they are not welcome here, the education programs presented in the schools have already resulted in six referrals for treatment and this is just the start.
At the heart of this effort is Liz Teixeira, who has approached this problem with the passion of Mother Teresa and her dedication has enabled the coalition to accomplish three years worth of work in less than one year.
• After languishing for the past few years, our arts community has been revived with the hiring of John Procaccini as exec of the BAC (Brewery Arts Center, for newcomers). In a few months, John has put the organization in the black and has a full schedule of performances for the upcoming year designed to appeal to all ages and tastes. With 800 members and counting, the BAC is a great way to meet people, make new friends, and enjoy exciting performances, so if you are not a member, check it out, join, volunteer, get in on the fun.
For those of you who have moved to Carson City recently, your timing is good. Many years of hard work, personal sacrifices and good old-fashioned persistence have gone into making this "city" what it is today and more importantly what it is going to become in the future.
In conclusion, I am going to step out on a limb as I am often wont to do, and wish everyone, newcomers and long-time residents alike, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and if anyone is offended, well ... Happy Holidays to you.
n Linda Johnson is a wife, mother, retired attorney and a 31-year resident of Carson City.