Genoa may sink downtown island
October 23, 2011
No town is an island, but Genoa has an island, which has occupied the center of town for as long as anyone can remember.
That island would become a thing of the past under plans presented to town board members on Tuesday night.
Even Town Historian Billie Jean Rightmire expressed little concern for the island that separates the intersection of Genoa Lane, Nixon Street, Jacks Valley and Foothill roads from a right turn merge lane.
“It’s been there for as long as I can remember,” she said.
Landscape architect Sandra Wendel presented a plan to merge the island back into the right of way, eliminating the right-hand yield lane.
“When we presented plans on the intersection to the county and state, they asked ‘why are you keeping the island,'” she told the town board.
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She said engineers consider the island to be a significant traffic hazard.
It is home to two monuments to the town’s history, one set in 1934 by Rotary in honor of the Pony Express, the other in 1938 by the Nevada Press Club in honor of Genoa as the first home to the Territorial Enterprise.
Wendel said both monuments could be moved back, along with a flag pole. She said the state will require some modification to the location of the signs that direct travelers to various places around Western Nevada.
The last time Wendel worked on the island was in 2002, when the town’s preference was to expand the island.
“It was always an awkward corner,” she said. “If we keep it we need to make it pedestrian friendly. No one uses it to cross the street, people cross whereever there. Right now you can’t get to it to read the placards on the monuments.”
Board member Jenn King said she liked Wendel’s proposed design.
“I like that you have a place where people can sit and look at the town,” she said.
The new design provides a location for the town’s information gazebo, which is on wheels and moves around now.
In addition to the island, plans call for the removal of three or four power poles downtown.
The work is being paid for out of $1.51 million in Douglas County redvelopment money approved by commissioners last spring.
“The town is not spending any of its money at all,” Town Manager Sheryl Gonzales said.