Speakers talk about towns of Gardnerville and Minden

JD Frisby and Mike Henningsen spoke to Minden Rotarians during January.

JD Frisby and Mike Henningsen spoke to Minden Rotarians during January.

Gardnerville Town Board member Mike Henningsen and Minden Town Manager JD Frisby spoke at Tahoe-Douglas Rotary during the month of January.

Henningsen, who spoke on Jan. 4, has been on the town board for six years. A Carson Valley native, his great grandfather and brothers came to the area in the 1870s and started dairy farms located on Waterloo Lane.  He attended local schools and then went to Cal Poly where he studied mechanical engineering.  He subsequently worked at General Electric, Bently Nevada and Baker Hughes.

He is one of five elected members including Bill Chernock, Lloyd Higuera, Jim Park and Mary Wenner. Eric Nilssen is the Town Manager. 

Geoff LaCost is the superintendent of Town Public Works. Other staff include three administrative, four maintenance, and five sanitation staff. 

The Gardnerville Town Board is an advisory board. The Douglas County Planning Commission and the county commissioners having the final approval say for a project.  However, the Planning Commission doesn’t often override the town.  The Board has public design guidelines to make it clear what they are looking for with new developments. 

Current projects approved include:

• Virginia Ranch Estates - 206 acres off Muller Parkway - originally approved in 2004 with 4 parks and land to the school district.  Recent revisions have involved the size of the parks.

• High Sierra RV Park - originally turned down once because the design did not meet the Design Guidelines of the Town.  A new developer came in with “Plan B”  (unique build) and was approved.  Building has not yet started.

• Maverik gas station - approved with a few design changes.

• Martin Slough - approved after the developer changed the plans from 51 homes to approximatly 30 homes with an improved access (within town ordinance) with landscaping in the open space.

• Buckeye Farms - mostly in Minden but trails in Gardnerville. Approved last month.

Among the challenges facing the town is the 27 miles of road and the huge amount of work to maintain them is the biggest challenge as well as locals that cannot afford to live here with mostly California retirees coming in with cash offers for homes.

Henningsen praised Main Street Gardnerville Director Jen Nalder getting the businesses involved.  He described her group as “a bunch of active people trying to make their town better.”

Frisby spoke to Rotarians on Jan. 18. Minden was officially created as a Town in 1979. The Town has five elected board members.

The Town oversees many areas including alleys, park maintenance, sidewalks, streets, streetlights, trash pickup, storm drains, retail and capital projects. There are a total of 20 full time employees of which 13 are employed in public works.

Three events from the past will no longer be coordinated by the Town - May the Fourth, Hot August Nights (no longer a stop starting in 2024) and Safety Street, which is now coordinated by the Sheriff’s Office at the Fairgrounds.  2024 events include Carson Valley Days in June, 4th of July in Minden Park and the Christmas Gazebo Lighting as well as route management for the Parade of Lights.

Projects for 2023/24 include Road Rehabilitation on Bougainvillea Drive, Well Rehabilitation No. 2, 10th Street sidewalk extension and the Westwood Park Splash Pad. The Splash Pad is within budget and will be brought forward at the next Town meeting.  This will be an amazing place for children to cool off during the hot summer months.  It is designed to be larger than the splash pad near the gazebo.  Finally, Frisby discussed the future growth for the Town. There were questions regarding the Park Ranch Project which has been submitted to the county. It will be the first time there will be significant change to the outer boundaries of the Town in many years. There are concerns about changes to concepts within the specific plan and the board decided to continue the discussion to the next meeting.  Frisby reminded the group that the applicant has always been a good neighbor to the town and hopes they are able to work though the conditions and make this a good project for both parties.

Frisby’s side job is Douglas High golf coach.  He celebrated the amazing season for the girls this past fall and looks forward to working with the boys this spring.

The Rotary Club of Minden meets at noon on Thursdays at the COD Casino Garage.


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