Downtown Reno: A Place Where Nobody Dared to Go
A common complaint emerged in the recent participant survey carried out as part of the ReImagine Reno project to rewrite the city's master plan: Downtown Reno is in desperate need of help. Mike Higdon of the Reno Gazette-Journal reports that despite the desire by some residents to have the option for a more walkable, urban lifestyle, the current state of downtown leaves many wanting. Residents recognized that the shabby appearance of downtown detracts from the other outstanding opportunities in the city, and doesn’t put the best face on a city seeking to attract tourists.
"(Downtown Reno) dominated people's minds," said Maureen McKissick, assistant to the city manager's office and co-organizer of ReImagine Reno. "It appeared in every single round table, with 29 focus groups and 94 round tables."
Hundreds of written survey respondents said they felt unsafe walking downtown because of vacant buildings and aggressive panhandlers. Many respondents asked the city to consider the effect that feeling has on tourists.
Of the many solutions offered, most agree that developing a vibrant downtown will take time and will require some bigger picture discussions about affordable housing and addressing homelessness in the community.