By Mark Waite
A $150,000 pressure reducing valve for the Gabbs water system, $66,500 to acquire a historic building for the Beatty Museum and $45,000 in Rural Nevada Development Corporation housing rehabilitation funds will be requested in the county’s Community Development Block Grant application.
Nye County commissioners Tuesday approved submitting the application.
In 2008, Day Engineering completed a report on the utility system in Gabbs, which found a high pressure zone in the lower section of town.
Gabbs, with a population of 318 people, qualifies for the low to moderate income under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development guidelines. The town of Gabbs is already paying back a U.S. Department of Agriculture loan and can’t afford to increase utility rates to pay for the repairs, the application states.
The water pressure is over 100 pounds per square inch psi in some areas, which is a violation of state law and doesn’t allow refrigerators and washing machines to work properly, Jack Osburn, from Nye County Public Works told commissioners last month.
The Beatty Museum and Historical Society asked to acquire the Episcopal Church across the street, built using bricks from Rhyolite in 1926. An addition was completed in 1962.
The building is not only historic, but the land itself, on which the Montgomery Shoshone Hotel was built in 1906, the first substantial building completed in Beatty, the application states, it was later moved to the mining town of Pioneer.
The society wants to use it for a multi-purpose building for activities like seminars, workshops, performances, recitals, exhibits, art classes, dance classes and meeting space, and to house historic artifacts.
“The need to preserve a historic building and historic property site in town is crucial when so few are left. Buildings that are occupied or in use tend to be preserved longer and are in better condition than buildings that have been unoccupied or vacant for any length of time,” the application states.
The RNDC has had several homeowner rehabilitation programs that in some cases were successful in leveraging other funding. Since 1992, the RNDC has done housing rehabilitation on over 452 homes from a variety of funding sources.
The RNDC said a large number of homes in rural Nevada are aging and have health and safety concerns, many are occupied by low income families including the elderly and handicapped who live on fixed incomes and can’t afford to keep up the home. Without intervention they will deteriorate to the point they can’t be repaired. The money would be used to address electrical and plumbing hazards, energy efficiency measures and handicapped accessibility.
The RNDC estimates three homes can be addressed based on funding of $15,000 for each home. Applicants must prove their household income is below income guidelines. In the 2010-11 fiscal year, the RNDC estimated they were able to rehabilitate six homes using only CDBG funds, in 2009-10 they rehabbed 15 homes.
The CDBG program has been a target of recent federal cutbacks, which led applicants to reduce their requests.
Almost all of the CDBG projects county commissioners approved have been for Beatty and small, northern Nye County communities, though the Court Appointed Special Advocate CASA program in Tonopah was able to secure $20,000 for a training program last year. Other 2011 applications that were submitted included $123,7770 to reline the Gabbs water tanks. The year before that it was a $250,000 application to rehabilitation the Belvada Hotel and Tonopah and a master plan for the Beatty Water and Sanitation district. Before that it was a $190,000 application for a Tonopah sewage effluent reuse plan.
Grant Administrator Amy Fanning said Pahrump doesn’t qualify for a lot of the grant money, since at least 51 percent of the residents have to have an income below 80 percent of the median family income.
This year the county had to play Scrooge for a number of requested projects that weren’t submitted.
Beatty wanted $500,000 to repair the water system at the former Bullfrog mine, $239,600 to repair the swimming pool and $55,281 for playground equipment at Cottonwood Park. Tonopah wanted money to continue the Century Plan. The Mount Charleston Corporation wanted $20,000 for a workforce training and community leadership program. The town of Pahrump wanted $90,000 for a shade structure at Ian Deutch Park. Nye County Health and Human Services wanted $20,000 to replace carpeting at the Beatty Senior Center.
Commissioner Joni Eastley remarked during the initial presentation on CDBG applications last month, “we’re lucky the federal government gave any money for CDBG, that’s how badly it got slashed.”