Downtown Minden gets a facelift |

Downtown Minden gets a facelift

by Christina Harvey

Esmeralda Avenue in downtown Minden is getting a facelift with new scored sidewalks, earth-toned pavers, planted areas, streetlights, tree wells with trees, grates and a new drainage system.

Though the Minden downtown beautification project is being funded initially by the Town of Minden, the merchants of Lone Tree Frame, Tumblewind Antique Mercantile, Nevada Gourmet Grocery, Artistic Nature, C.O.D. Garage and other businesses are participating financially, reimbursing the town half the proceeds of their street fairs until they have paid for the improvements in front of their shops.

“They’ve really taken an active part in the project,” said John Campbell, owner of Nevada Gourmet Grocery.

The town will pay for the area between Minden Park and the far edge of the CVIC Hall. Douglas County will fund the improvements in front of its offices, and the business owners are responsible for the rest.

Only the section of Esmeralda between Fifth and Fourth Streets on the left side of the street by Minden Park will be completed this summer.

The expected cost of the beautification in this section is $37,773.75 or $215.85 per foot of frontage. This cost includes the light pedestals, planter frames, pavers, sidewalk and the electrical and irrigation utilities. It does not include the lights, which will cost $1,400 for a single light and $2,300 for the double lights on the corners. It also does not include the trees, which will cost a few hundred dollars apiece, said Sheila Byington at the Town of Minden.

The section between Fifth and Fourth streets should be finished in September once the streetlights are put in, but the entire project – including beautification on both sides of Esmeralda as well as on the side streets where Fifth, Fourth and Third streets connect to it – is expected to take at least three years.

According to the map plans, the renovated areas on Esmeralda will include 22 planted areas, 61 tree wells with trees and 31 street lamps.

However, for the time being, the Town of Minden is just focusing on the sidewalk improvements next to the CVIC Hall, Tumblewind, the Lone Tree Gallery and Nevada Gourmet Grocery, said Greg Hill, the Town of Minden public works coordinator who is overseeing the project.

“Our main interest right now is to complete this block so everybody can see what it will look like,” said Hill. “That will generate more interest in the community.”

Hill said the majority of the work should be done within the next three weeks.

So far, the lights, pavers and grates for this segment have been ordered, and the concrete sidewalks were completed July 30.

“The scored sidewalk makes it look more old-fashioned,” said Campbell, surveying the progress around his grocery.

Campbell said the downtown merchants are hoping to have the trees funded by individuals who want to donate to the project. Ideally, each tree would have a plaque in front of it with the individual’s name.

Campbell also noted that the electrical wires and the watering system go underground, “so it’s not a maintenance nightmare.”

The streetlamps will resemble those in Minden Park and will have the capability to hold baskets with flowers.

“I think it will make this area really nice for the people of Minden,” said Campbell. “It will give them a nice place by the park where they can stroll and look in at the businesses.”

Byington said the sidewalk beautification was the next logical step after the additions to Minden Park and the new clock tower.

“It was just part of the overall plan,” Byington said. “We’ve been looking at it since 1993 when we did a workshop and asked residents what they would like to see in the form of open spaces, parks and neighborhood enhancements.”

Campbell agreed it had been a long process.

“We’ve been working toward this for a long time, and the Town of Minden finally stepped up to the the plate and said, ‘Let’s go get it done,'” he said. “We’re very grateful for that.”