A look at the top 8 stories to look forward to in Reno this year

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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) 1. Topping our list is the Tahoe Reno Industrial Park. There you can look forward to the extension of USA Parkway, which will connect Interstate 80 to US-50. And you might want to pay even more attention to the Tesla gigafactory after last week’s news that electric motors and gears will also be made there. The question also remains: will any other big name companies by joining Tesla there in 2017?

2. The extension of the freeways in Carson City will allow for a quicker trip to South Lake Tahoe.... And the southeast connector should also be completed, connecting Veteran’s parkway to Sparks Blvd.

3. For years, the Park Lane Mall property has been an empty lot, bur a local developer is looking to change that. The project includes building more than 1,200 residential units and space for retail and office buildings. The first units will break ground this year and be ready for move-in in 2018.

4. 2016 started off well for Victorian Square - with the addition of new apartments on either side - but the end of the year was not as good for the area - with the closing of the movie theater. City officials hope that this year, the fate of that theater is determined, as well as that of Bourbon Square Casino - which has been bought out with the plan of converting it to a building with retailers inside.

5. The vote on gun background checks in Nevada was extremely close, but now they may not be able to be implemented after a law that went into effect New Year’s Day. What ends up happening is something many Nevadans will be watching.

6. One of the most anticipated stories of 2017 could be a follow-up on one of the biggest stories of 2016 - the opioid drug ring involving employees of Jones West Ford.

An informant in the case provided federal investigators with enough information to indict Dr. Robert Rand, Richie West, and 7 other defendants. A court affidavit says Rand is under investigation for the death of 60 people after over-prescribing pain killers.

7. Last year the downtown action plan gave the people of Reno a chance to voice their opinions about changes they want to see made to the area; the top 2 things the public said they wanted to see done were getting a handle on the homeless problem, and reducing blight in downtown. The question this year is simple: will we see progress?

8. With the passage of WC-1 comes the question of school construction. While there is a long list of things to do, first up this year will be the expansion of Damonte Ranch High School, which will precede construction of a new elementary school in south Reno.