County vitality plan to be reviewed Friday |

County vitality plan to be reviewed Friday

by Scott Neuffer

At least one of 12 teams charged with implementing projects in the Douglas County Economic Vitality Strategy and Action Plan can claim that their mission has been accomplished.

Team members tasked with spearheading the Douglas County community and senior center will be celebrating their success during a public workshop 3 p.m. Friday in the Valley Ballroom of Carson Valley Inn in Minden.

“One team in particular will be celebrating the completion of their work, and that will be the community and senior center team with champion Janice Rice,” Lisa Granahan, the county’s economic vitality manager, said Monday. “They were tasked with finding a location, Herbig Park, finding operational funding, finding construction funding, and then getting a foundation formed to raise money for additional things we otherwise wouldn’t have funding for, and that was formed last December.”

Bond issuances and a half percent increase in the public utility operator license fee will fund construction and maintenance of the $16.7 million facility. The community and senior center is expected to be completed by the fall of 2014 – roughly four years after county commissioners formally adopted the economic vitality plan.

While celebrating one project’s success on Friday, county commissioners will also hear updates on the remaining 11 projects of the plan. Combined, the projects encompass three focus areas: distinctive downtowns, outdoor lifestyle and recreation, and education and workforce. Each specific project has a private sector champion that leads a team of private and public individuals.

“Each champion will go over their accomplishments, funds leveraged, if any, and what’s next,” Granahan said. “A lot of these projects are synergistic – other things are going on in and around them.”

For example, the Ascent Douglas County team has spent its second year at the Outdoor Retailer Trade Show in Salt Lake City trying to attract businesses to Carson Valley. The goal is to target firms in the outdoor lifestyle and recreation industry by promoting the Valley’s natural assets and favorable business climate.

Realizing a need for production capability, however, the Northern Nevada Development Authority recently procured a Rural Business Enterprise Grant for a cut-and-sew operation in Minden. The 11,000-square-foot facility, which was donated by Bill Miles of Miles Construction, will allow for the production of soft goods on a contract basis, specifically in the outdoor apparel market.

“The feasibility study is done, and we’re in the business planning stage,” said Granahan. “We’ll be moving forward with equipment, and my goal is to have it done by the end of the calendar year.”

Other priority projects have seen movement as well, Granahan said.

“With the Genoa Destination enhancement project, walkways, signage and improved parking will be happening,” she said.

Seven new businesses have opened or plan to open in Genoa since the vitality plan’s inception, Granahan said.

“That synergy starts to set in,” she said. “Maybe their lease is up somewhere else, maybe they’re starting to relocate, then they find out Genoa is planning these improvements, and that makes it enticing.”

By the same measure, Main Street Gardnerville has added 11 new businesses, net, and also has implemented a revolving loan program for businesses within the district, Granahan said.

Pointing to another, no less important area, she said the Minden-Tahoe Airport team recently created a foundation to raise funds for a soaring and sport aviation museum on the east side of the airport. She said they’ve already adopted a sibling soaring community in New Zealand to cross-promote tourism.

“These private sector champions have just been tremendous,” Granahan said. “These are passionate individuals, and our staff works hard to keep up with all their energy and to keep things moving.”