Reno Facelift

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Living in the shadows of downtown, right across from Interstate 80, neighbors complain about crime on their street. They complain about looking at abandoned homes marked with graffiti, and overgrown weeds. But, they say they love their neighborhood, and they want it to improve, but not if it means they have to lose their homes.

"I think it's a great plan," says Lynn Norton. "But I don't want to move."

“It'd probably be nice," says Will Weeks. "But I don't want to move either. I like it here."

The Reno Redevelopment agency says forcing people out is not the idea. They say the goal of redevelopment is to make these seven targeted neighborhoods even more enjoyable for people who live there, and attractive to future residents and businesses. According to a city study, half of the properties in these selected areas have declined in value in the past few years, as the rest of Reno and Washoe County experienced increases. So redevelopment staff says they'll meet with residents in each area to determine exactly what should be improved, whether it’s luring new retail stores to fill empty lots, or building more affordable housing or enhancing the look of streets. Neighbors on Sixth Street say they already have some ideas.

"I think they need to do something with the children, maybe build a rec center," Weeks says.

"More things for kids to do," says Amanda Goncalves, who plays on the sidewalk with her friends. "There's a lot of kids living on this street and we want something to do too."

But before anything can be done, Reno City Council will have to approve the proposal that spans all over the city. The areas were selected because they're near regional economic centers like UNR, Saint Mary's and Washoe Medical Center. Or, they're areas where visitors get their "first look" at Reno like the area near the airport, boomtown and Fourth Street as you come in from Sparks.

"We really are looking to enhance these areas with the same kind of excitement and activity that's already underway in the downtown core," says Kristin Danielson, economic development manager for the City of Reno.

The money will come from "tax increment financing.” That's where the city earmarks any future growth in property tax revenue to fund redevelopment.