Facelift in Minden means sconces and chandeliers | RecordCourier.com

Facelift in Minden means sconces and chandeliers

by Sheila Gardner, Staff Writer

Picture this: Two towns, 400 miles apart, formed within months of each other in 1905. At first blush, Minden had it all: scenery, the railroad, water, a thriving agricultural community. Las Vegas, at the southern end of the state, was a dry, dusty spot in the middle of nowhere.

What a difference the 20th century made.

Minden looks much like it did in 1905; residents and visitors can still walk the original town plat with the 1916 courthouse at one end and the historic downtown at the other; Las Vegas, meanwhile, has become one of the wonders of the world.

But the people who live in Minden will argue that the town where the big news is new sidewalks is exactly as they want it.

Everything old is new in Minden today.

R.O. Anderson Engineering stripped the old First Interstate Bank of its 1970s trappings and created a building that reflects the architecture of the turn of the century. Across the street, the CVIC Hall has added a Victorian flourish to the interior with wallpaper, sconces and chandeliers.

And in the grand scheme of things, Minden is happy to rest on its laurels as the state’s first planned community. For the time being, residential development has come to a halt and town officials are looking for a way to make the most out of commercial development, bringing businesses to the downtown area, but not too much business.

The town has spent the better part of this year working on a redevelopment plan which takes advantage of Minden’s historic character and promotes economic development.

At a town board meeting earlier this month, officials presented county commissioners Jacques Etchegoyhen and Don Miner with a list of concerns about Minden’s sometimes rocky relationship with the county.

“What we would like to propose is to work very hard with you to create an expanded relationship,” said town Chairman Bob Hadfield. “It would be one that everybody would look at and say, ‘Hey, we want to work like this with government bodies.'”

Hadfield said the town is at a crossroads with most of the approved residential development completed.

“We’re at a lull,” Hadfield said. “Winhaven is building out, Westwood is nearly gone. As a board, we’re not sitting here looking at a lot of things. I would encourage the board to take the time to actually identify what will trigger changes in how we do things.”

He encouraged commissioners to revisit the idea of a regional water plan because of Minden’s extensive water holdings in Carson Valley.

“We’re looking for you to tell us what role you want us to play,” Hadfield said.

Town engineer Bruce Scott recommended that the county reconsider Minden’s water source in light of strict arsenic regulations on the horizon.

“If ever an issue could bring Douglas County together, it’s water,” Etchegoyhen said. “This is where wells have good, clean water.”

Previously, the town and county have butted heads over permit fees, water treatment and other issues.

“This is Nevada’s first planned town,” Etchegoyhen said. “It was formed the same time as Las Vegas, but I don’t think there is any doubt where most Minden folks would rather be.”

Commissioners left with a summary of letters from Minden to county officials dating back to 1993. The correspondence covers such topics as design review, the master plan, sidewalk inspection, permit and application fees for town projects withing Douglas County and road maintenance.

Etchegoyhen and Miner agreed to study the letters and return in December for more discussion.