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VEA bows out of fountain restoration project in Pahrump

For the past two years, the iconic fountain at the corner of Calvada Boulevard and Highway 160 has been inoperable and Valley Electric Association has been taking the lead on fixing it.

However, the co-op has now bowed out of the project due to the contention surrounding the subject, thrusting the fountain back into the hands of the county.

Nye County Commissioner John Koenig informed the community of this fact during a meeting earlier this month.

“I was hand-delivered a letter from Valley Electric the other day and basically it says that although it’s been a privilege to participate in the restoration effort, they hereby return to the county the responsibility of fountain maintenance. In other words, they have washed their hands of it so we will get no help or financial help from them, so it’s going to be back to us to do something with the fountain,” Koenig explained.

The letter, dated May 4, stated that the desires of the community and those of the co-op were at loggerheads and because of this, the utility would no longer be moving forward with any fountain proposals.

“We always welcome the opportunity to collaborate with the county and other organizations to help make improvements in assets that reflect on the community,” the utility’s letter read. “As you know, Valley Electric Association has been working for many months with Nye County officials on a plan to restore the Calvada fountain.

“Our goal was to create a dramatic, iconic design that everyone could be proud of, one that respects the fountain’s historical significance while at the same time accommodating concerns involving safety and conservation of water and energy,” the letter continued. “In trying to stay true to this goal and also create a plan that balances comments from the county and feedback from the community, we are unable to reconcile these wishes.”

VEA took over responsibility for the Calvada fountain in 2009, after having completed repairs that were needed at the time. Throughout the years between 2009 and 2016, when a vehicle crashed into the fountain and created the issue at hand, VEA had been taking care of the community feature. Once the accident occurred, though, the divide between what the co-op wished to do to address the situation and what the community wanted to see became glaringly obvious.

Most recently, in August of 2017, VEA came forward with a variety of conceptual designs for the county to consider, with an updated, more modern design that would provide solutions for VEA’s concerns regarding water and power use as well as safety. However, the community voiced its desire to see the fountain restored to its original condition, not completely redesigned. During the August 15, 2017 commission meeting, several members of the public spoke against new design ideas.

At that time, there was no final design selected for the fountain and the commission voted only to allow VEA to continue pursuing the project. Now, almost a year later, VEA is stepping down and relinquishing its responsibility for the fountain.

Nye County Commissioner Butch Borasky did not seem to feel it was all doom and gloom, however. He told the audience during the May 15 commission meeting, “I can almost guarantee you I can find some sponsors to take over that responsibility, fund that fountain and get it back to its normal state. I will talk to the county manager about that and set up an agenda item to cover that.”

When reached for an update on the status of the issue, Borasky said he was working to put together the necessary elements and would provide further details once they were all in order.

VEA declined to provide further comment outside of its letter on the situation.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com.

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