SPARKS, Nev. (KOLO) -- The new year brings new changes to the city of Sparks. Mayor Ron Smith sat down for his first interview of 2019 to address some of his priorities for the city. Housing development and transportation are at the top of his list.
"Sparks is not only a great place to live; it's a destination," Smith said, "People that live here love the family orientation that we have here." Smith is no stranger to the area. He's lived there for more than 30 years and served on the City Council for 12 years.
"Our number one issue is the spaghetti bowl. It's a huge, $600 billion project," Smith said. He said the project is being fast tracked, and work on it should start next year.
Another key issue is housing development in the area. Around 1,600 apartment units are headed to Sparks, including near Marina Park and Victorian Square. Smith said he's keeping affordability in mind to help lower the prices of rent.
Aside from the agenda, Smith said growth for Sparks is growth for us all.
"Sparks is for the family. You come in here and there's things going on for families all the time," Smith said.
The city's motto is "It's happening here!" Smith said he thinks Sparks emulates that motto with the numerous events and unique destinations in town.
"I think we've earned it with the rib cook off, Hot august Nights, the marina, which is unique to the area," Smith said.
Smith says he has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, saying it was caught early and he is positive he will respond well to treatment.