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Inside the Story: Action plan seeks to clean up downtown Reno

Reno Arch, downtown Reno, northern Nevada (Sinclair Broadcast Group)

When Patagonia's store manager found out they were moving their store downtown, there was excitement and a little apprehension.

Since the store's been open, that apprehension has slowly waned and business has been good. However, manager Meghan Wolf knows a cleaner, safer downtown would make it better.

“Good lighting, clean streets, buildings that are up to date. The more we keep it clean and well lit, and the more I think people will come and enjoy it,” says Wolf.

And that's the key to the new downtown action plan, which the city council voted to keep moving forward back in April: Make locals and tourists feel more comfortable spending time and money in the heart of the city.

“There are times you go down there and it looks kind of scary. It's not that it is scary; it's a perception, and we need to change that perception,” says Darrell Clifton, president of the Regional Alliance for Downtown.

Cleaning up downtown has been a rally cry for literally decades in Reno. A lot of talk, and not that much action.

Those involved in the downtown action plan say this time, things will be different. Many of the players and payers will remain the same, but the overall strategy is the big difference.

It will involve a private-public partnership, a management board,and the hiring of ambassadors to stroll the streets to help tourists. It will also include the hiring of case workers to assist the downtown homeless.

“If they want the help, we're going to get them the help they need and make sure they have some options that they may not know about,” says Clifton.

It's a strategy that has worked in other cities like Sacramento and Denver, and organizers believe this action plan will live up to its name here too.

Clifton is cautiously optimistic they’ll be able to get it done.

“It's not a done deal yet," he said. "We still have a lot of things to work out the way we want it to go. But if it does, it'll absolutely change Reno forever.”

Community involvement is a big component of the plan, with a need for locals to take pride in their downtown. This weekend, Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful is including downtown in its annual clean-up day. It's happening this Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon, and they still need volunteers.

If you'd like to help, head to ktmb.org to sign up.

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