This wouldn't be the first adjustment in the efforts to revitalize downtown Sparks. By the time the city launched its redevelopment efforts in the 1980's, the downtown was in deep decline. The first move was a 3 foot high brick median on B Street. The "wall" as it was never as popular as the day it was torn down. The city went back to the drawing board and came up with a winner...Victorian Square...which has become over the years...the area's favorite special events venue...hosting thousands for events like the rib cookoff, farmer's market and Hot August Nights. For the first time in decades, people wanted to come to downtown Sparks.
Armando Ornelas, Sparks Redevelopment Manager, says the idea that Victorian Square is the community's living room is alive and well.
As successful as it's been for special events, Victorian Square, is on most days deserted. The city wants to change that.
For the past few years, the strategy has been to attract a major retail development. Developers chose to build those big new stores out in the suburbs. So, the city is setting its sights on another plan...a traditional downtown with a mix of retail, residential, entertainment...and even government. The first phase would emphasize housing, higher-density townhouse complexes on the outskirts of the downtown. A new city hall built on the site of the closed Duke's casino would follow along with a downtown gateway approach. The square itself would be opened to limited traffic with restaurants and shops on the first floor...city offices above on either side.
You'll have sidewalk restaurants, entertainment, music. The idea is to add the one thing Victorian Square may be missing now...people.
In the daytime you'll have a population down there to provide foot traffic for the restaurants and at night you'll see the people who live down there.