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Minden will appoint citizens’ committee

by Sheila Gardner

The Minden Town Board will select seven residents and business representatives for an advisory panel to begin discussion of downtown planning with Douglas County and the Sierra Business Council.

Town officials hope the conversation will include evaluating Minden as a possible recipient of county redevelopment funds to upgrade the area.

“The county ought to be looking at us as potential beneficiaries,” said town attorney George Keele. “We’ve got an empty bank building across the street. Perhaps this can dovetail with the Sierra Business Council efforts.”

The Sierra Business Council is a coalition of 450 member businesses and specializes in facilitating community-based planning. Douglas County has allocated $50,000 toward the planning.

How the project would be financed has not been determined.

“What concerns me is that in the plan for downtown beautification, no money is identified as a funding resource,” said town board member Ross Chichester. “I’d hate to see people devote their time to something that isn’t going to happen.”

Town engineer Bruce Scott said the downtown plan is viewed as an extension of the community’s architectural standards.

“It’s a blueprint that helps assure that some larger Minden areas don’t get out of control,” he said.

Town board member Robert Hadfield said part of the planning process should be a financial commitment by the county up front that resources would be available.

“Let’s face it,” Hadfield said. “The county sets aside huge amounts of money up front for roads, water and sewer infrastructure. I think that we can ask legitimately that something be set aside for the town.”

Scott said there were a number of ways that request could be “woven into the process.”

“The county wants the town’s input on the people for this citizen’s advisory committee. It needs to be done very carefully to really get a good flavor of Minden, but we don’t want people to feel disenfranchised,” Scott said.

The committee also will include a representative of the county planning department and planning commission. Town board members suggested the panel include representatives from Carson Valley Inn, Bently Nevada Corp., Mack Land and Cattle Co., Minden Business Group and the neighborhoods of Mackland, Westwood and Winhaven.

Mimi Moss, Douglas County’s planning and economic development manager, said development of a Minden downtown plan is an ideal time to discuss redevelopment options.

“What we would have to do is hire a consultant to evaluate a certain area and determine if it meets the Nevada Revised Statute requirements for blight,” Moss said Thursday. “It can be an underutilized area such as North County or property without services. That’s the reason why the North County fell into the redevelopment plan.”

Even though the Target store is open and Home Depot is near completion, Moss said there are still six subareas in North County targeted for redevelopment, including David Walleys Resort and Hot Springs and Genoa.

“Technically, the county could initiate work done on the Town of Minden if that is the plan,” she said. “They don’t have to wait for the existing redevelopment to be built out to completion. There is nothing wrong with starting the dialogue.”