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Commission forwards two projects for block grants

Improvements to the Calvada Eye and repairs to the Gabbs swimming pool were the two projects Nye County will forward for approval for Community Development Block Grant funds.

An application will be submitted under the federal program to add concrete curb and gutter to control drainage at the Calvada Eye parking lot, estimated to cost $327,000 and replace 38-year-old lighting on Calvada Boulevard from Highway 160 to the Calvada Eye, a project that could cost $182,000 to $195,000.

The county declined to forward a $150,000 application from the town of Beatty to construct recreational trails, despite an endorsement from County Commissioner Lorinda Wichman, who represents the Beatty area. They also didn’t submit a request for $150,000 to create a recreational trail on the Calvada Eye that would consist of two pedestrian footpaths totaling 7,075 feet.

Wichman said she considers safety and the number of people who would benefit from a project. But she said the $49,500 request to repair the closed Gabbs swimming pool would eliminate a blight on that community.

Commissioner Butch Borasky said he was frustrated at not being able to get improvements to the Calvada Eye last year.

“Last time when we did this I was hog tied, bound and I couldn’t say a word,” Borasky said. “The best project that would serve the most people was not taken, it went north, along with the year before that and the year before that and the year before that. The two Calvada Eye projects combined are the ones I would prefer, it serves the most people, it would spruce up the area and help attract economic development.”

County Commissioner Dan Schinhofen said organizers of the Beatty trails project, led by property owner David Spicer, had enough private funds. He also questioned when was the last time southern Nye County received CDBG funds.

“I did have a conversation with Mr. Spicer about it. He did mention whether he was awarded grant funds for that project, it was going to be funded anyway,” Grants Administrator Julie Carlo said.

Carlo said the last time a southern Nye County project was approved was 2003, though the Court Appointed Special Advocate program received training funds. The state CDBG committee however gives precedence to projects costing more than $150,000, she said, in arguing against the Gabbs project.

“You have some very determined people in the Beatty area who want to do those mountain bike trails. No matter what we do, they’re not going to stop. They’re going to push on. I would like to be able to say Nye County helped with that effort in one way or another,” Wichman said. “The more money they’re able to attract the more trails they can do.”

Spicer hopes to turn the Oasis Valley just north of Beatty into a state and national mountain biking destination. He said it could help address an economic decline in Beatty, recently the town’s only bank closed. In 1999 Barrick Goldstrike Mines closed the Beatty Bullfrog mine.

The Community Development Block Grant program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

It is intended to serve lower to middle income residents. A state committee that includes various local government officials reviews the county applications and sends them to the governor for approval.

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