Downtown Redevelopment

By  | 

California Avenue is one of the oldest streets in town...but it could be the next candidate for an extreme makeover. Plans are in the works to transform the unassuming strip into a shopping and dining destination.

"This area could really define Reno. If you really develop it as a true neighborhood, as a place where people are out on the streets and walking around," says Steve High, the CEO and Director of the Nevada Museum of Art.

The museum has been a partner in the redevelopment plan with hopes that a livelier neighborhood would bring more people to the museum.

"If you can create a lot of variety and a lot of interesting types of establishments, it's going to become a very popular place."

If the plan is approved, the development will be broken into two phases and would include creating wider sidewalks and a center median on California, hiding utility lines and the creation of more off-street parking on side streets. The biggest change would be changing California from a 4 lane street to just two.

Henry Gibbs is an angry neighbor who believes traffic will increase where he lives on Marsh Street if California street shrinks.

"I thought it was the dumbest plan I think I ever saw in my whole life, to be perfectly frank. I read it thoroughly and I saw no excuse for it at all."

He's lived and run a one-room real estate business in the neighborhood for the last 32 years. As the plan is drafted now, he would owe the city more than $15,000 for the costs of phases one and two.

"California is looking better all the time, They've got a donut shop and some nice restaurants over there. They're doing alright. We don't need to create a San Diego type street for this neighborhood."

The total price tag is estimated at over 2 million dollars. For an additional 100 thousand, diagonal parking spaces would be created on California. Although the city of Reno has been discussing the redevelopment plans for years, it is still far from being final.