Topaz Lake roads may see work |

Topaz Lake roads may see work

Don Mooneyham stands next to the tank trap at the entrance to his road at Topaz Lake.
Kurt Hildebrand

It’s no secret that the roads above Topaz Lake are very bad, but help may be on the way.

As part of their tentative budget, commissioners set aside about $384,000 for local roads, prioritizing work on the roads in the south county community.

It didn’t take much urging from commissioners Dave Nelson and Barry Penzel to get the rest of commissioners on board with dedicating the money.

“If I have a one-time project to fix the roads at Topaz Lake where should I put that money to make sure that happens?” Nelson asked.

Topaz Lake’s roads was top of mind as commissioners wrapped up their six-day discussion of the tentative budget.

“There should be some one-time money to bring their roads up,” commissioner Nancy McDermid said.

Resident Don Mooneyham said he has been trying to get people to attend county commissioner meetings in an effort to get some work done on the road.

He lives on Eureka, which is down below the casino and service station.

“We have potholes where you have to weave around to keep from wrecking your front end,” he said.

Mooneyham said one of the key issues for the roads is fixing the drainage, which is responsible for chewing up the edges in the neighborhood.

There are some portions of Dayton below Eureka that might be better off as gravel than the pavement that’s on there.

Under the plan proposed by commissioners as part of the budget, the money will be budgeted for local roads, with Topaz Lake getting first priority.

Penzel said he wanted the county to be laser-focused on infrastructure, including roads and stormwater drainage.

Douglas County has struggled with local road maintenance for decades.

Topaz Lake is one of the locations dependent on the county for its road maintenance, along with Johnson Lane and Foothill.

Minden, Gardnerville, Indian Hills and Topaz Ranch Estates residents all pay additional property taxes within their boundaries. Those town and districts are already at the $3.66 per $100 assessed valuation tax cap.

Complicating the issue is that Topaz Lake residents’ mailing addresses are Gardnerville, though they live well outside the town boundaries.

The county is responsible for maintaining 177.44 miles of paved road, 43.69 miles of roads with grindings and 14.15 miles of gravel roads that fall outside of the towns or districts.

Topaz Lake is home to about 300 residents, the majority of whom live there year around. Residents have been complaining about the roads in their neighborhood for years.

The neighborhood’s roads were gravel until sometime in the 1990s, when the county put down asphalt grindings, and then rolled and sealed and sealed the roads.