President's Message Winter 2015-2016
- Created: January 01, 2016
- Published: January 01, 2016
- Written by: Byllie Andrews
Looking back on 2015, our reach continues to grow. In July 2015, our walking tours were so popular I think we may have broken our own record! Mansions on the Bluff kicked off the month with 125 participants on the 4th of July. Some thought the 8 a.m. start time on a holiday would lower attendance, but they were wrong after guides led two groups on what is HRPS's most popular walk. A member let us know how much she loved the Church Tour, her first visit to any of the three churches. She reported: "since I joined [HRPS], I've been on walking tours all around Northern Italy, and my girlfriend who joined [HRPS] with me, went on one in New York City. So, not only have we enjoyed learning about Reno, we have learned a whole new way to get to know cities we visit. Thanks for doing such a great job putting the activities together."
Looking forward to 2016, our grassroots efforts will play the single most important role in assuring that our historically important buildings and places are preserved. That was the biggest takeaway from our first speaker program of the 2015-16 season featuring Jim Bertolini, National and State Register Coordinator for the Nevada State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO). His information was extremely timely for HRPS and for the Advocacy Advisory Council (AAC) as we determine how we can better contribute to historic preservation efforts in the Truckee Meadows. Individually and as an organization, we must be agents of change and stewards of our local history.
As Reno's improving economic outlook brings more development and re-development, the HRPS Advocacy Advisory Council is tracking and bringing attention to an increasing number of properties and neighborhoods. We fully support the efforts of the University of Nevada, Reno and the city of Reno to bridge the gap between the university and Downtown Reno, but some of the plans we have seen raise concerns about the fate of several classic Queen Anne homes as well as other historic structures older than 100 years in the Gateway District.
Of additional concern are the iconic mid-century motels in Reno's core. They reflect Reno's history as a transportation hub along the Lincoln Highway as the rise of the automobile saw more and more families traveling across the country after World War II. We applaud the city's planned efforts to remove blight from the downtown core, but we caution them not to destroy, and encourage them to honor such a large piece of Reno's and our nation's heritage.
Growth in northern Nevada, with the increasing numbers of veterans, has led to the need for the Veterans Administration to expand its local health care system. We are pleased that the VA and the neighborhood surrounding the Veterans Health Care Center were able to reach a compromise resulting in a onelane section of Kirman Avenue remaining intact, instead of being closed altogether and splitting the neighborhood. The fate of the neighborhood could still be in jeopardy as the VA is proposing to acquire fourteen properties which are part of the Burke's, Belli and Mountain View Additions that would be demolished and replaced with parking. These neighborhoods have high integrity and are examples of postwar mid-century neighborhoods.
It had been several years since HRPS evaluated membership levels, so earlier this year our membership committee convened to look at membership options in similar nonprofit organizations. Although many of these organizations have discontinued lifetime membership options, the HRPS membership committee recommended retaining the level, but raising the price. Going forward, half the money raised by lifetime memberships will continue to support the Neighborhood Preservation Fund and the other half will support transportation for the fourth-grade education program, FootPrints publishing and distribution, and rent for the Laxalt Auditorium. Please see the revised membership form on page 15 of the latest issue of FootPrints (Winter 2016).
In closing, we welcome Carol Haydis, Lee & Ivye Johnson, Mike & Pat Klos, and Laurence & Linda Kutten, our newest Lifetime members who join 35 other couples and individuals who have made this commitment to HRPS.
(Special thanks to Barrie Schuster and ZoAnn Campana for supplying information, respectively, on the VA expansion and mid-century motels.)
Byllie D'Amato Andrews