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Gardnerville focuses on enhancement

by Christina Harvey

The Town of Gardnerville focused on community enhancement Thursday night.

Robert Fellows of Lumos and Associates Inc. discussed the addition of 12-foot-wide bike and pedestrian paths that will start at Gilman Street, loop around Gardnerville Elementary School and cross Highway 395 at Kings Lane.

The project’s budget is $513,152, with an enhancement grant from the Statewide Transportation Technical Advisory Committee (STTAC) for $465,152 and a town match of $48,000.

Fellows told the town board this project has been in the planning stages for 10 years, but has not had sufficient funds until the STTAC committee recommended funding for the Martin Slough Pedestrian/Bike Path project at the June 11 meeting.

“This enhancement grant offers an alternate mode of transportation between the schools, parks, residential neighborhoods and downtown,” Fellows said. “With this project, we’re really gaining a lot of speed toward reaching the objectives of the Gardnerville downtown vision.”

The primary objectives of the vision are to promote economic and social vitality and to enhance the main street pedestrian-oriented environment.

The vision was first developed in 1994 with the contributions of downtown retail owners.

“I think the retailers and property owners in the downtown area are ready to see things change and do things on their own,” Fellows said.

Fellows said he anticipates starting construction for the project next spring.

“I think that would be an ideal time frame,” he said. “If there are no unexpected hang-ups, it should be completely built next year.”

It is anticipated that the town’s $48,000 match for the grant will be a portion of the work done under the Ezell Ditch Project.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners was expected to deny the town’s request for financial participation in the Ezell Ditch and Toler Road projects, but instead voted to support the project at their meeting Thursday. The Douglas County School District will also participate financially in the project with a one-third commitment of $4,700.

Fellows said the county staff’s original recommendation to deny the request for improvements was a misunderstanding that was set right at a meeting June 29.

“It wouldn’t have stopped us,” Fellows said. “But it’s better to work together. It’s not a large amount of money in the big scheme of things. Now that they’re involved, this project will be a feather in their cap.”

He said the recognition that the project would provide a regional-type facility for everyone’s use swayed the county to participate.

“This just shows that the school district, town and county can all work together to make these things happen,” he said.

n Zone change Herbig Properties Limited, with the help of Roger Falcke, owner of AM/PM and Kentucky Fried Chicken, proposed a zone change to allow commercial development for 7.68 acres of frontal area along Highway 395 and change the remaining 22.87 acres of the property to a public facilities designation.

Most of the town is zoned neighborhood commercial. The property in question is located between Highway 395 and Waterloo Lane, just behind the Lampe Corners project.

Falcke said there were no specific tenants planned for the commercial area.

“This is a win-win situation for the county,” Falcke insisted. “They can’t afford to expand the park, and this is a great way for them to do it.”

Falcke said his vision for the property includes recreational parks, a new skate park, batting cages and other uses by the parks and recreation department.

Realtor Patty Clark brought a similar proposal for the Herbig property before the board with a plan for a casino and RV park with open space. However, the original master plan died at the planning commission because the land is within a flood zone. Falcke said the plan will involve filling the flood zone.

The board approved Falcke’s request for a modification of the previous proposal.

Tom Cook, board member, said his only concern with the plan was that the town would not want to get involved with the recreational land because it can’t maintain the land it already has. Falcke said he expects the county to acquire the land.

Falcke said it is too late in the year to start building, but he is already making plans for next year.