Improving Brickelltown brick by brick
Visitors to Brickelltown will soon be walking with greater comfort on more than 250 feet of new sidewalk.Mitch Clarin, owner of the Blue Sky Home Center on Donner Pass Road, has taken a proactive approach to improving Truckee’s streetscape by personally financing the project.
“I’m doing it for the community’s benefit, and for the benefit of Blue Sky,” Clarin said. “My buildings and tenants will be better served. And I am trying to set an example for other Brickelltown [property owners] to follow suit.” The brick-paved sidewalk will stretch from Truckee River Sash & Door to Riverstone Home Gift & Garden and will include eight-foot street lamps and landscaping.
Pat Perkins, a senior civil engineer for the town, said that as buildings downtown are built and revitalized, property owners are responsible for improvements to their frontages, but the extent of Clarin’s project goes above and beyond the requirements. Clarin is even paying for the electricity for lighting and plans to eventually continue the sidewalk from the roundabout up High Street.
Without a proactive approach, other such improvements might be a long way off, he said. In 2003 town officials approved a streetscape plan that outlines upgrades for curbs, gutters, sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping throughout the entire downtown area. But the estimated cost for the entire project is $10 million that the town can’t currently afford, according to Perkins. Until business owners can agree on the creation of an assessment district through which they would pay taxes to fund the improvements, little more is expected to happen.