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Knowing Nevada: Carson City Revitalization

Knowing Nevada: Carson City Revitalization (Sinclair Broadcast Group)

After more than a century, the state capital of Nevada finally feels like a town again.

Thanks to the latest downtown revitalization project and the freeway project extending Interstate 580 around the downtown area, Carson City no longer has a highway going through the middle of it.

Instead, residents and visitors can walk, bike, drive and enjoy the outdoors throughout the Carson Street corridor.

"A big part of what we're doing down here is to create not just a sense of place, but a sense of community," says Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell. "Some will say, you know, you are just doing this for downtown businesses but we are doing it for the entire city so that we all share in what is happening with the diversification of northern Nevada."

In 2014, the one-eighth cent sales tax kicked in for Carson City to fun the downtown revitalization construction, along with several other city improvement projects.

Aside from a multi-use area, new trees and light poles are similar to what Carson City had in the 1800s, and new benches along Carson Street mimic the sandstone brick that the capital was built with in 1869.

During the initial population boom in Carson City, the capitol grounds were used as a social gathering place for picnics, concerts and various forms of entertainment.

That is being replicated in 2016 with the new McFadden Plaza located across the street from the capitol.

"It is a public and private partnership," says Mayor Crowell. "People can bring their kids down and play in the water feature and enjoy food and enjoy the outdoor life."

One of the major population increases for Carson City happened in 1863, when the U.S. Mint opened, creating nearly 100 jobs.

Since the closest mints at the time were in San Francisco and Philadelphia, people came to northern Nevada not just for jobs, but to see history.

The first coin press that was used is still on display inside the old Mint building, now the Nevada State Museum.

"Even though it was the only press for the first five years, it increased employment," says Nevada State Museum Curator Bob Nylen. "They came from back east or some times from San Francisco because they could transfer from other Mints to work at this institution, so it brought people from around the United States."

When the Mint opened, the population was around 500 people, compared to the 50,000-plus residents who call Carson City home today.

The changes happening to the town are, in part, for those who may be visiting or stopping though. But for those who live in Carson City, whose ancestors settled in northern Nevada more than a century ago, the changes are monumental.

"You get goosebumps," says Mayor Crowell. "I am so proud of what Carson City is. We're the state capital and this just sets it off. This is what Carson City is all about."

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