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Gardnerville makes plans for Village Green

by Merrie Leininger, staff writer

The vision is of a green place that is pleasant, attractive and attracts shoppers.

The Village Green plan will eventually include shops in the same style as historic Gardnerville, with lots of trees and an amphitheater to bring in events north of the intersection of Gilman Avenue and Highway 395, behind the old East Fork Hotel.

“We have an opportunity to capture and maintain that quaint, small-town atmosphere and continue to preserve those historical buildings,” said Gardnerville Manager Jim Park.

The first phase is widening Courthouse Alley and creating parking on that road.

“We want to have more parking downtown. We will also tie the new development to the historical area by using the same motif, like brick sidewalks,” Park said. “It will also help with the traffic going into the school in the morning.”

Phase one will go to bid Nov. 5. Park said he hopes construction would begin by the end of the year.

The phase one project will also include putting power lines underground.

He said the plan will be to have shops surrounding the Gilman Avenue and Ezell Street area, near the entrance to Chichester Estates.

“We want to make downtown Gardnerville a destination. People could come here for shopping for the afternoon and then have dinner,” Park said.

Phase two – widening Ezell Street and adding more parking – would begin next July.

By 2002-2003, Park hopes to have upgrades done on Highway 395, the sidewalks along the highway replaced by brick walkways and the overhead power lines removed. The complete cost of the Village Green improvements would be about $500,000, Park said.

Park said the rest of the work would be done “as money permits. I’m looking into grants.”

Artist’s renderings show a green park area between Ezell and Courthouse streets. Park said the area would be very relaxing, with no sports fields.

Park said the amphitheater is at least five or six years down the road and the cost hasn’t been determined or budgeted.

“I believe it will be a wonderful addition to the town. It will be a good opportunity to hold cultural events here,” Park said.

n Martin Slough. Another project going out to bid next week is phase three of the Martin Slough wetlands project, just north of the Village Green project. The ponds are on either side of Gilman Avenue.

Phase three includes a bike path/access road and cleaning weeds out of drainage ponds.

“We’re excited about the future wildlife viewing. Once the path is complete, it will go all the way down to Minden,” Park said.

Phase three is paid for with the help of a $26,970 match grant from the state Environmental Protection Agency. A match grant means it is awarded to an organization or government body on the condition that organization will pay the same amount as the grant.

Phases one and two included creating the ponds and changing the direction of the slough. The purpose of the project is to use a natural wetlands to clean up water stored in the ponds that flows into the slough and eventually into the Carson River near Muller Lane.

The slough is a partially man-made waterway that flows from Lampe Park to the Klauber Pond and into the river. It has historically been used for irrigation and collection of agricultural water. As the area has become more urban, the water quality has decreased as more erosion and street runoff have entered the slough. The town of Minden is also involved in the project and will complete part of the bike path.

“The number one benefit of the project is we are using Mother Nature to treat the water. And it’s been working. The water coming is different than when it’s been through it,” Park said.

Phase three will include trees and shrubs along the bike path.

Part of the slough and the bike path goes through Douglas County School District land that was leased to the town with the condition they can use the area for science lessons.

“It is so close to the middle school, they are looking at the possibility of using it as an outdoor classroom for environmental classes,” Park said.