Project a gamble at any time
On Thursday, Douglas County commissioners will touch on the Riverwood development.
The large mound of dirt has sat idle now for nearly three years since developers got a third of the way to completing only the most basic site work.
But under an agreement with the county, that was the only hard, fast thing the developer had to do to keep $24.7 million in redevelopment money in play.
Had Jay Timon not taken the gamble that he could complete the work he started, he would have had to walk away from the table empty handed. The county had already put its quarter in the slot machine and pulled the handle when commissioners approved the agreement with Timon in the first place.
Most of the development that has occurred in Nevada over the past 150 years has been the result of a gamble.
The people who discovered gold in the Comstock, or above the Reese River, or any other obscure location in the desert were gamblers at heart.
Had their gamble not paid off, Nevada wouldn’t have ever been made a state.
Many of the issues we’re dealing with today are the result of failed bets, made on Jobs Peak for water, or the north Valley for sewer capacity. In both those instances, county commissioners bet that the growth that had gone on for 30 straight years would continue.
When thanks to the recession, the dice came up snake eyes, every resident of Douglas County was stuck paying the vig in one way or another.
Another lesson from Nevada history is that even when you strike pay dirt and uncover the Mother Lode, when it’s all played out, all you’re left with is a big pile of dirt.