Genoans make case for improvements
A Candy Dance-level crowd of tourists visiting Genoa every day could set cash registers ringing, but it’s more than townspeople are seeking from the county.
The town came up on Tuesday evening as county commissioners were wrapping up their budget hearings.
Commissioner John Engels suggested spending much of the $3.6 million left in Redevelopment Agency No. 1’s budget on improving the town’s tourist draw.
Townspeople are seeking $1.37 million from the fund to renovate the town hall, kitchen, meeting room and kitchen HVAC, and the installation of a retaining wall to protect the town church and a microwave backhaul.
Competing with those requests is an estimated $2.5 million extension of Vista Grande between Jacks Valley Road and Topsy.
All of the projects proposed for redevelopment funds would add up to $3.87 million, $242,331 more than is left in the fund.
Commissioner Dave Nelson pointed out that Indian Hills was where the Redevelopment Agency originated and projects there should probably be considered first.
Commission Chairman Barry Penzel agreed, saying Vista Grande is a project commissioners should support.
However, he said, there are challenges with the project including obtaining right of way from the U.S. Forest Service and that the alignment with the extension doesn’t exactly match where Vista Grande intersects Jacks Valley Road now.
He said that will necessitate a roundabout, which would be more of an oval shape there. The county has applied to the Forest Service to get the right-of-way. It’s also included in the Douglas County Lands Bill, should that ever make it through Congress.
Town Board member Steve Shively asked commissioners to consider the Genoa requests.
Candy Dance is the key source of revenue for the town, but renting out its buildings is a secondary source.
Penzel, who once owned the Genoa Country Store, said the both the town and Indian Hills have benefitted from the redevelopment area, which was repealed last year.
“The things that Genoa has had improved would never have been accomplished without the redevelopment agency,” he said.
Among those was $2.2 million in improvements from the redevelopment agency approved in 2011, which represented the largest nondisaster expenditure of public money on the town in its history. Improvements included the Genoa Vista Trail from town to 1862 David Walley’s Hot Springs.
Douglas County commissioners enter their fourth day of budget hearings 9 a.m. today.