1990s: a decade of change
The first year of the last decade of the 20th century was one of preparation: Getting ready for the future.
If that sounds familiar, it should, because it was ripped from among the headlines of the Dec. 30, 1990 issue of The Record Courier. The actual headline over that story – “County prepares for 21st Century” – travels well. We figure some version of it has probably been used about a dozen times in the last three months.
The story travels well, too. In 1990, Douglas County was the second-fastest growing county in the fastest-growing state in the nation. The master plan revision process had been farmed out to a national planning firm; proposals for new development were overwhelming the community development department.
The voters had OK’d tax increases to pay for paramedics and 911 emergency service. The 911 system went into operation in November.
The Carson Valley Fair Shopping Center on the southern edge of Gardnerville, containing Scolari’s and Payless Drug (now Rite Aid) as anchors, had just opened. On the north end of Minden, Ironwood Center, now home of an eight-screen movie theater, was under construction.
Douglas County was making national headlines, too. A man featured on “America’s Most Wanted” was captured in Stateline. Later in the year, producers for ESPN promised to secure some kind of title fight for Sharkey’s Cow Pasture Boxing Festival. Something called the “Fish Springs Phantom” made the Unsolved Mysteries show.
Scott Doyle became the District Attorney. DHS pitching ace Shawn Estes was headed to Stanford. A committee was looking at relocating the old county landfill, which was suffering from some contamination and facing a federal audit.
Voters had rejected a pair of school bond questions. School officials were trying to decide their next step. Meanwhile, multitrack started at Scarselli.
Minden officials found out some of the cottonwoods around Minden Park were rotting and dying and would have to come down.
Some things, of course, have not changed. Speeders, cable television and rampant growth have remained common complaints. Fires and flash floods have invaded on a fairly regular basis. County leaders are always looking over their shoulders for attempts to steal Carson Valley water supplies, and lamenting the loss of sales taxes to neighboring jurisdictions.
With that in mind, here’s a list of events that have – or will – change the Valley.
n 1991 – Two longtime state legislators, Assemblyman Lou Bergevin and Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen, announce they won’t run again. Bergevin, R-Gardnerville, had served in the Assembly since 1979. He passed away in 1998 and his seat is now held by Lynn Hettrick, R-Gardnerville. Jacobsen, R-Minden, reversed his decision. He holds the record for the longest legislative service in Nevada history; he was most recently reelected in 1998 to a term that runs through 2002.
n 1992 – voters pass a $29 million school bond that pays for Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, the Pinon Hills and Minden elementary schools and expansion of Douglas High School. Three county commissioners ride slow-growth campaign platforms into office.
n 1993- An effort to require trash pickup results in pickets and petitions opposing the service. The next year, mandatory pickup is dumped.
n 1994- What turns out to be the last grand jury report of the millennium is issued. The report criticizes the planning department, the East Fork Fire and Paramedic District, then-East Fork Justice of the Peace Doug Struthers and county government. The Sheriff’s Office, recreation department, airport, purchasing department and East Fork Swim Center are investigated but cleared of any complaints. County officials promise to address the issues raised by the grand jury.
n 1995- Citizens organize an attempt to recall four Douglas County Commissioners for voting to buy the 9,800-acre ranch formerly known as the Slash Bar H. The board members think a county purchase of the ranch would pre-empt development and save the area’s coveted open space. The purchase and recall efforts ultimately fail, and the ranch is instead acquired by Bruce Park and Don Bently.
n 1996 – The updated master plan is finally passed. It’s meant to last until 2016.
n 1997- An increasingly vocal group of residents upset by perceived differences in services given to Lake and Valley residents takes a call for a new county to the state Legislature. Legislators listen but tell the groups to work things out on their own.
n 1998 – The county creates its first ever redevelopment district, consisting of sagebrush covered fields in the Indian Hills area. Home Depot and Target now occupy part of those now-paved fields.
n 1999 – Open space preservation takes center stage. County officials consider trades and other deals that will ensure the Valley’s remaining open space won’t be paved or subdivided, but nothing yet is certain.
Kind of like December 1990.
Happy New Year.