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Dewey Jay: ‘It’s going to be tough to leave’

by Merrie Leininger

Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District Trustee Dewey Jay is leaving the community he has lived in since 1989 and the board he served on for eight years.

“It was a great 11 years,” Jay said of life in the Carson Valley. “I will never have the kind of experiences I had here again. I had a great, great time and now it is time to go.”

Jay and his wife, Dorothy, are moving Feb. 24 to Vista, Calif., the same community which drew away former GRGID board member Victor Hyden in November.

Dorothy has health problems and would like to be closer to her two sons, who live in Southern California. The couple has seven children, 11 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren between them. Jay gave a lot of credit to Dorothy’s “quiet support” of all his community involvement.

The Jays came to the area in 1989 after visiting from their home in West Covina, Calif. They were married in Reno and passed through the Valley during anniversary trips back.

Jay, 77, a retired insurance salesman and ex-Marine, said it is going to be tough to leave behind his community service projects. He is heavily involved in Kiwanis and also is on the China Spring Youth Camp board of directors.

“I was always involved in something. So when I came out here, I saw what was available and went for it,” Jay said. “I’ll start looking around to see what other problems I can get into there. I can’t sit around and watch the dumb television hour after hour.”

As a Ranchos board member, Jay has pushed for the development or sale of greenbelts since the very beginning. Now, a program is in place to create parks out of many of the greenbelts. The next step is a community survey of what recreational facilities residents would like in the green areas.

“It got me hung up. I decided to work on that because so many things have to be done. I thought I would jump right in and have a good time doing it,” he said.

Jay credited other board members and District Manager Bob Spellberg, but is obviously very proud his dreams have come to fruition.

“When you accomplish something like this, you feel good. There is nothing like having a good time doing something for somebody else,” he said.

The board sold a four-acre lot which is now known as Cahi Circle and is a neighborhood of about 13 homes built by homeowners as part of the Citizens for Affordable Homes program.

“We did a survey on the greenbelts, and at that time, there was over 80 acres of them,” Jay said. “That one, someone had been dumping engine oil and leaving old boats on it. We had to go to court to sell it. Some people fought it like cats and dogs. Now it has 13 homes on it. It is beautiful.”

Jay said he hopes the board continues to sell some greenbelt areas to pay for parks such as Bluerock Park, under construction now. Board members said they intend to dedicate the park to Jay.

He said other things on his “wish list” he will not have a chance to work on are bringing a Boys and Girls Club and a senior center to the Ranchos. Jay said the 22-acre lot that holds the new Ranchos Fire Department would be perfect.

“There are over 20 acres left for development for the public,” Jay said. “But the only way things get done around here is if someone pounds on people’s heads. That was my job.”

Jay said he would also like to see the Ranchos evolve from a general improvement district to a town and have more independence from the county.

“We are quite able to run our own business. Right now, we have to get county permission for a lot of things. They charged us $1,800 for that bike and walking path we are putting in the greenbelts. Why? That is for the betterment of the people.”

Jay thanked Spellberg and the board members for their work and for dedicating the park to him.

“The board really gave me an opportunity to do things I wouldn’t have been able to do,” he said. “It’s going to be real tough to leave.”