When it comes to grappling with the pros and cons of the Train Trench, this little space isn’t good for much. After all, The Trench is one of the meanest, orneriest, low-downest argument-starters Reno’s had to wrangle with in a long time. But there is room for one quasi-paradoxical point to be made.
To proceed, I need a fictional Reno Citizen, known hereafter as R.C.
R.C. holds the at least semi-common opinion that downtown Reno is basically unattractive, a somewhat old and homely hodgepodge that, while boasting a few bright spots and nice areas, is generally over the hill and fading in terms of its ability to compete in the highly competitive modern arena of tourist towns. R.C. wants to see creative new buildings and concepts that will jazz up the downtown core, things that will inspire pride in locals and interest from tourists.
Recent projects like the Siena and the Riverside Artist Lofts are very nice, in R.C.’s opinion, and the new plans for apartments and restaurants on the block across from the Century Riverside 12 theater on First and Sierra are seen by R.C. as another solid, positive step. He/she likes the look of the bowling stadium, even if he/she’s never been inside, and was approving of the recent talk of a baseball stadium on the river next to the Auto Museum.
But R.C. is not similarly warm and fuzzy toward The Trench. Something about The Trench has R.C. spooked.
When it comes to a project that could be large in improving Reno’s efficiency and looks, it’s hard to think of something that would have more impact than The Trench. If built properly (admittedly a hefty if), it would ensure that no one in Reno would ever again have to wait for a train, WHICH YOU HAVE TO ADMIT WOULD BE SORT OF NICE, while simultaneously providing the city with a chance to replace a grimy, dangerous, two-mile strip of yesteryear’s iron and gravel with a gleaming new boulevard of some sort that could be used by both the city and the casinos to create spaces and places that would be far more attractive than the current look of the area, that of a graveyard for broken bottles of White Wolf vodka. In short, The Trench gives Reno a chance to replace its beat-up old crickety backbone with a fresh, supple spine.
So why, then, does R.C., who fancies him/herself as action-oriented and progressive when it comes to the overall development of downtown Reno, shy away from this shiny new spine that could actually become an engine for generating business for the downtown core, and instead choose to stick with that dirty old backbone that provides nothing more than steamed motorists and rusty blight?
The city might want to find out muy pronto.
(Columnist note: If Reno never gets around to incorporating the attractive boulevard idea into The Trench Plan, the above column goes into the Roseanne Roseannadanna zone very quickly. As in “Never mind!”)