Minden targets NDOT landscaping grant | RecordCourier.com

Minden targets NDOT landscaping grant

by Sheila Gardner

The Town of Minden is working on coming up with $100,000 to qualify for just under a quarter-million dollars in state funds for landscaping public property between the abandoned Minden Gateway project and Highway 395.

The board submitted a request to Douglas County for $75,000 in economic development funds to put toward a $220,000 grant from Nevada Department of Transportation for landscaping improvements.

That would leave Minden with a $25,000 obligation for the 1.4-acre parcel.

Town engineer Bruce Scott said Minden applied to NDOT for beautification funds for improvements around the intersection of highways 88 and 395 at the entrance to the town.

The site is dominated by the weed-choked, defunct Minden Gateway project which never came to fruition following the economic downtown in 2007.

“We applied to NDOT on behalf of the town for some beautification funds,” Scott said. “All of a sudden, NDOT said, ‘We’re willing to give you some money if you can match it.'”

Minden Town Board members agreed Wednesday to earmark the county funds for the match.

That money became available three years ago when the county manager’s office released a one-time allocation of $100,000 each to Minden, Gardnerville and Genoa.

Genoa devoted $30,000 of its share to the Cowboy Poetry Festival, and Gardnerville to Main Street revitalization.

Previously, Minden had submitted proposals for the funding which were denied, but now, the board was told, “no strings attached” to their purpose for the money.

The additional $25,000 is to be budgeted from the town’s general funds.

Scott said the town also hoped for assistance from whoever ends up developing the Gateway project which abuts the site.

Over the years, the town has enlisted the assistance of Boy Scouts, volunteers, staff and others to clear the weeds and spruce up the 11-acre Minden Gateway parcel.

He emphasized that the NDOT grant was to benefit the community.

“These are highway beautification funds. It’s the same funding we used to put in the roundabout and what we call ‘Marsha’s Park’ with the trees and the Dangberg statue. You could argue that benefited Ironwood Center.

“The entry to Minden is really important. We see this as doing something for Minden and setting a standard what we expect development in Gateway to adhere to. We don’t see it as something just to enhance private property. This is something tens of thousands of people drive by every day.”

Scott said the plan calls for pathways, benches, landscaping and a sign welcoming visitors to Minden.

“It will really be a nice area for people on foot, school kids, and bicycles,” he said.

By moving sidewalks away from the highway, Scott said the project will increase the safety of pedestrians.

He said the proposal is a “green” project that emphasizes water conservation, buffalo grass and other NDOT guidelines.

“It’s been a real frustration that we have a less than aesthetic entry to Minden. We’re hopeful that we can get something going this summer. The economy has obviously affected things. We’re really fortunate to have the NDOT grant. We look forward to getting it in bricks, mortar and shrubs,” Scott said.