City Council Gives Nod to Evans Heritage Park, Potentially Preserving UNR’s Historic Homes

UNR's historic homes will be discussed at tomorrow's City Council meeting.
The future of historic homes is in question.

Evans Heritage Park may be the new name, or theme, of the City of Reno’s Evans Park on Ninth Street across from the University of Nevada, Reno. That’s a possible result of a decision made today by the Reno City Council.

“It’s the best (option) we’ve seen,” said Councilwoman Neoma Jardon after a lengthy discussion about moving UNR’s historic homes to Evans Park. “At the end of the day, though, it’s the university’s decision.”

University of Nevada, Reno President Marc Johnson earlier in the day suggested that Evans Park could house a new parking garage while maintaining some open space. The university’s southward expansion plans include a new business building and a life sciences buildings. Three UNR students spoke in favor of using Evans Park in this new way.

UNR solicited proposals to give away the homes on Center Street in order to build a new business building. The deadline for those proposals is tomorrow, Friday, at 2 p.m. It is not clear who else may have submitted proposals to maintain the homes after relocating them.

Historic preservationists, however, developed a public proposal for Evans Park to be the new home of UNR’s gateway homes, structures that have been the source of controversy for the past couple of years.

The Reno City Attorney’s Office said that a deed restriction prevents Evans Park from housing the historic homes, but preservationists disputed the City Attorney’s opinion citing additional documentation allegedly not considered in that opinion.

Council members ultimately agreed with the preservationists. The urgency of the one-day deadline for proposals was noted more than once.

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“The park site is questionable,” said Councilman David Bobzien, who urged more discussion. He said more consideration about the proposal was needed but that he supported the concept while wanting a deeper review of the proposal.

Jardon encouraged the university to support the effort, citing the quick deadline. Council unanimously approved the motion to advance the proposal.

CORRECTION: UNR President Marc Johnson suggested that Evans Park could house a parking garage as part of the university’s expansion, not the historic homes, as originally reported.

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Bob Conrad is co-founder of ThisisReno. He manages ThisisReno and Conrad Communications, LLC, his marketing communications consulting company. He also works part time for the University of Nevada, Reno.