Redeveloping downtown Truckee
February 28, 2008
As plans progress for the Railyard development east of Truckee’s Commercial Row, the town wants to make sure the rest of downtown isn’t ignored.
Historic renovation, street improvements, and even road realignment are all in the works to help improve Truckee’s downtown core, using the town’s redevelopment agency.
“We want to get momentum going in downtown before the Railyard gets started,” said David Griffith, redevelopment and housing coordinator. “We want to make improvements to the gateway, create better parking, and improve aesthetics in an effort to raise the bar for downtown.”
A Downtown Streetscape Improvement Program could offer downtown business or property owners loans to pay for improvements in front of their properties, he said.
“The main thrust is getting in sidewalks, curbs, and gutters throughout downtown,” Griffith said.
Those improvements could be required when other work is planned on a downtown property, Griffith said, and would not only benefit the town at large, but would improve property values for the owners.
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“It’s a win-win for the owner, the town, and the citizens,” Griffith said.
The town also has an application in for the second time to get downtown Truckee into the National Register of Historic Districts, which could create more financial assistance for renovations on downtown buildings.
The new status would give historic property owners tax credits of up to 20 percent for the cost of restoration and rehabilitation, adding to the Mills act property tax reduction, said Town Planner Duane Hall in a previous interview.
Griffith said the redevelopment agency could also help, using its funding to either aid in restoration projects or to bring on a consultant to help property owners through the process of applying for tax credits and reductions.
Potentially starting in 5 years, a realignment of Donner Pass Road through the western end of downtown could create more parking and improve the entrance to the town core, Griffith said.
“The key to that is negotiating with the property owners in Brickelltown to make sure their parking lots are preserved,” Griffith said. “And we will also negotiate with the rail road for the right-of-way.”
Each project could build off of one another, Griffith said, and that collaboration could continue with a Main Street Program.
“The Downtown Main Street Program is a management program where owners work together for marketing, structuring ” it’s businesses coming together to manage a downtown area almost like a mall,” Griffith said.
The Downtown Streetscape Improvement Program will go before town council on Thursday, March 6, at the regular 6 p.m. meeting.