Fixing up Truckees historic Brickelltown |

Fixing up Truckees historic Brickelltown

Eugenia Turchetto, Estephania Hernandez and Paula Gastanio walk down the street in Brickelltown Monday afternoon.

The Town of Truckee is looking to improve Brickelltown as the western gateway to downtown Truckee.Brickelltown, one of Truckees historic areas, has recently been the site of numerous improvements made by private property owners, but the town also has plans for area upgrades that could begin in 2008 or 2009, said David Griffith, the Truckees redevelopment and housing coordinator.Town manager Tony Lashbrook said much of the improvement to Brickelltown has occurred in the last few years.As recently as five to six years ago the buildings in Brickelltown were vacant and in a state of disarray, Lashbrook said. There has been a lot of private investment there in the last seven to eight years.

Griffith said the Truckees Downtown Specific Plan calls for improving Brickelltown, including policies calling for mixed-use zoning, landscaping along the railway, a bike path that will run through the downtown core, and pedestrian infrastructure.One policy calls for pedestrian-friendly connections between Brickelltown, Jibboom Street, and West River in downtown. Griffith said.A capital improvement program, which will re-align Donner Pass Road from the roundabout to Spring Street, is scheduled to begin in 2008 or 2009 when a funding source has been identified and becomes available, Griffith said.The project is estimated at $925,000 by the town, Griffith said.The re-alignment would move Donner Pass Road south toward the railroad as a result there will be better parking on either side of the street, and will include landscaping and a trail in the railroads right-of-way, Griffith said.

As private property owners apply for projects in Brickelltown, the town requires part of the project to include sidewalk construction to aid in pedestrian connectivity, Griffith said.The town also has a series of incentives to encourage development and improvement in Brickelltown along with the rest of Truckees redevelopment area, Griffith said.Projects that could benefit the town may be eligible for tax incentives, development fee reductions, or priority permit processing, Griffith said.The incentives are to help a project that couldnt work on its own, Griffith said, The [Redevelopment] Agency on behalf of the town can reduce fees to move a project along.

Current private projects include a potential expansion of Tahoe Daves Skis & Boards and two office buildings at the vacant lot at 10220 Donner Pass Road, adjacent to the Cottage Hotel, Griffith said.Town Planner Duane Hall said one of the first historic renovations in Brickelltown was the C.B. White House, which was renovated during Nevada Countys historical survey in the late 70s or late 80s.Other recent work in Brickelltown include the Hunt buildings, built and renovated by Bob Hunt, and Tom Grossmans project that replaced two historic buildings, Hall said.He owned two historic buildings with structural integrity in question that he requested to demolish and rebuild, Hall said. It was very controversial at the time.

One of the recent driving forces in Brickelltown has been Mitch Clarin, owner of Blue Sky Home Center.It presented a challenge and an awesome opportunity, Clarin said. The opportunity was to help improve the downtown corridor and make a profit along the way.Currently Clarin is working on the Eaton houses in Brickelltown, restoring them to historic specifications, he said.We get pictures from the historical society and from my research, Clarin said. HPAC (Historical Preservation Advisory Committee) applauds the research we do.He said the western Eaton building will be done in about a month and the eastern building will probably be finished in May or June.Clarins past work includes renovations of the Sassarini house (also known as the McGwinn house), the Titus house, the Titus garage, stairs from Donner Pass Road to High Street, landscaping, park benches, and 600 to 700 feet of brick sidewalk, he said.Clarin said he has made sure his work complies with the towns proposals for Brickelltown.When we did the sidewalk we made sure it would fit in with the towns final plan.Since renovations began, Clarin estimated that foot traffic has increased by 300 percent, and while Brickelltown is not yet as popular as the rest of downtown, he expects it to continue to improve.The tenants we have are very happy to be here. They get the downtown presence without the exorbitant cost, Clarin said. The more businesses that move in and the more fixed-up it gets, the better it is for everybody.

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