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CVI drops plans for slot operation

by Merrie Leininger

Park Cattle Co. withdrew its application Friday for a zone change that would have allowed Carson Valley Inn to establish a slot casino in the empty Gorman’s store in the Gardnerville Ranchos.

Bruce Park said the “political climate” was not friendly to the idea, which seems to be the case based on Ranchos residents’ first response to the slot operation.

Tonja Nichols of Park Cattle Co., owners of the Tillman Center, said the company has no leads on possible tenants for the empty store.

“Just because we’ve called all the grocery stores once and they said ‘no’ doesn’t mean we’re not going to do it again. We’ll be persistent. We’re not going to give up,” she said. “We’re open to anything to make it happen.”

Carson Valley Inn representatives said in order to put a slot casino and restaurant in the center, a zone change from neighborhood commercial to tourist commercial had to be OK’d by the county. Soon after the plan was proposed, however, it was clear Ranchos residents opposed the idea.

“We see in the political climate right now it’s not the perfect timing. Possibly some day, but in my conversations with some of the commissioners, obviously the timing is not right,” said Bruce Park.

The group decided not to push the issue, CVI marketing director Bill Henderson said Friday.

“We never intended this to turn into a battle that we had to fight. We thought it would be a viable business,” he said. “The shame of this is even before Gorman’s left, there were empty store fronts there. (With Gorman’s gone) it kind of puts the whole area at a crossroads. There has to be an anchor there.”

Park and CVI officials said they have not given up on the idea of a gaming facility in that center. Park said the company has to look at anything that will work economically.

“We live in this community, too, so we chose to withdraw the application for now. Tomorrow might be a better day,”Park said.

Park urged the Ranchos community to support the stores in the area.

“The success of the center depends on the support it gets from the community, no matter what,” Park said.

n Response. Residents who had attended recent Ranchos board meetings in opposition to the zone change were pleased with Friday’s announcement.

“All I can say is, ‘delight.’ I think it would be safe to say the majority of residents in the Ranchos with families are delighted they withdrew the application,” said Ranchos resident Dennis LeDrew.

“I’m thrilled about it. I live in Pleasantville. That would really down our property. It doesn’t belong here – not in a residential area,” said Lois Coleman. “To be honest, the people in the Ranchos are families. They’re not going to get much feedback with them. This is a family community.”

Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District board members were split on the issue.

“I think obviously somebody has seen the handwriting – that people were against it. Now we’ve got to think what do they want to put in there – maybe a bowling alley,” said board member Dewey Jay.

Board Vice President Al Wagner, the only board member to support the zone change, said he wished things were different.

“I think it’s a mistake. That thing is going to sit vacant. It’s not good for anybody. I think there could have been some negotiation on the issue,” he said. “I felt at the meeting they would withdraw the application because they had so much opposition. There is a fear factor with change.”

Board member Victor Hyden declined to comment. Beverly Page could not be reached at press time.