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Column: This era will be remembered as turning point in county’s history

by Kris E. Holt

Even as Carson City is bursting with new energy, new resources and new successes, something is happening in Douglas County that is truly exciting and important.

Something is happening that will long be remembered as a turning point in the county’s history.

Something is happening that should give all of us a very good feeling because it says loud and clear that leadership – visionary leadership – is alive and well in the Carson Valley, and that truly bodes well for the future.

So, what exactly is this wonderful, exciting and significant event? It is the start of the county’s first-ever redevelopment project. The commercial project at the Carson City border was very attractive to Home Depot and Target. Ridgeview Estates, David Walley’s Resort, Genoa Lakes and Little Mondeaux all have tremendous development opportunities.

“The county looks hot right now,” says Mike Grim, past president of the Northern Nevada Development Authority. “With health care facilities, more golf courses and a lot of potential retail opportunities, we are experiencing the economic vitality that we’ve never had. It’s great to see all of the special interest groups in the Valley working together to enhance the region. I’m proud that we (NNDA) are very selective in who we recruit. It’s quality, not quantity.”

As Douglas County prepares its product, the Northern Nevada Development Authority is enjoying some business recruiting successes in the Valley.

After a Bay area recruiting trip last week, Grant Sims, economic development manufacturer with Sierra Pacific Power Co., noted, “The costs of real estate and labor in Silicon Valley make us (the Carson Valley) very attractive to high-tech businesses. We visited six companies last week, and two are extremely interested in Minden and Gardnerville.”

Projects such as the Mustang Business Center at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, the Darja Laboratories Bio-Medical Facility in the Meridian Business Park and RAMAC’s 53,000-square-foot expansion demonstrate Douglas County’s potential. Most importantly, Nevada’s second largest manufacturer, Bently Nevada, has decided to expand its world headquarters in Minden.

NNDA currently has 14 very serious prospects examining the Carson Valley. Some of the companies ready to commit include a paper products manufacturer, 80 employees; a vending machine manufacturer, 10 employees; a software company, 20 employees; a restaurant equipment manufacturer, 30 employees; an architectural accessories manufacturer, 10 employees; and an aircraft kit manufacturer, 8 employees.

“Things are happening,” according to County Manager Dan Holler. “Currently, we have over 650,000 square feet of retail/commercial/industrial space under construction. Not to mention the proposed projects.”

During the past 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to be involved in more than 150 business relocations in the Carson, Douglas, Lyon and Storey counties region. However, Douglas County has not kept pace with its neighboring counties until recently. Dave Bolick has sparked the Chamber and continues to work closely with NNDA to attract quality businesses.

Now is the time, after so many years, to reap the harvest. The members of the commission and the county officials are ready for action. Now, individuals and groups such as the Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Douglas County Building Industry Association, the Business Council of Douglas County, the Western Nevada Development District and others, are proving that creative leadership is alive and well. It is a true pleasure to represent Douglas County.

Finally, visionary leadership brings to life an extraordinary Valley. Hooray for all of us!

(Kris Holt is the executive director of the Northern Nevada Development Authority.)