Reno City Council members on Wednesday voted to move forward with construction of a water purification facility east of Reno-Stead Airport. The facility would pump water from Swan Lake, about four miles away, to be made into drinkable water for north Reno water users.
This facility is part of the American Flat Project with Reno, Sparks, Truckee Meadows Water Authority (TMWA) and several other entities in Washoe Valley partnering to recharge groundwater for community use.
“We cannot stay static and just live off the Truckee River,” Council member Naomi Duerr said. She added that though TWMA has done a great job of storing Truckee River water, there has to be more options.
Council member Jenny Brekhus said she was concerned that the construction was negligent by not looking further into the financial aspect of the project and that it would raise water rates for residents. She also said she did not like TMWA leading the project since they are far removed from government finances.
Council member Bonnie Weber asked that Brekhus’s concerns be addressed.
John Flansberg, the city’s director of public works, said that his department has been sharing financial information about the project with council and the next step will be to share information with development communities and get feedback.
“I don’t see a financial person here,” Brekhus said, saying she wanted a full financial report.
The motion carried 6-1, with Brekhus in opposition.
Alley naming postponed
Sam Gettle, a Midtown property owner, in October of 2021 asked the Regional Street Naming Committee to name the alley that cuts between the block of Reno and Saint Lawrence avenues and Plumas and Humboldt streets.
Gettle owns three of the five properties that access the unnamed alley and said he’s been having problems with mail delivery. Naming the alley would help solve that problem, he said.
The naming was presented to council members for a final decision.
Though Brekhus said that naming alleys is important, she also opposed this recommendation.
“Any member of the public can go and ask this committee to rename something … and they can go and do it without anyone on this body or anyone in the community knowing that it’s going on, and that’s what happened in this instance,” she said.
In addition to Gettle’s request being reviewed by the Regional Street Naming Committee in October of 2021, Brekhus is listed as presenting the name change to the Ward 1 Neighborhood Advisory Board (NAB) on the board’s April 11 agenda – before it was brought to the city council.
The Ward 1 NAB has been working on a map of naming for years. They had wanted to extend the naming to the alignment of the alley that runs for nine blocks from California Avenue to Mount Rose Street. Ward 1 NAB members also wanted to name the alley “Old Creamery Alley” to honor the historical significance of the area.
Brekhus said that she also wished for the alley to be named “Old Creamery.”
Naming the alley Midtown Alley would be inaccurate, she added, referencing Ward 1’s map of neighborhood names that places the alley in the “Plumas Neighborhood.”
She also objected to just naming that section of the alley. It could cause confusion if the entire nine-block extension didn’t have the same name, or if certain areas were named while others were not, she said.
City manager Doug Thornley acknowledged that the process of naming or renaming could have more of an intake procedure to avoid this in the future.
“It’s not that it isn’t [fully] baked, right? Because it has gone through the process… If you do not believe that it is the best policy to name segments, it should go back for more work,” Thornley said.
Reese chastised Brekhus allegedly for not working with him before council meetings.
“My expectation as the at-large member is that if a ward member has a particular agenda item on their calendar and its needing some work, that I can add to the conversation or we can make sure it’s fully baked, that that council member would reach out and we would have those conversations not at the dias,” he said.
“With the exception of one, [Brekhus], my colleagues do make those calls and do work on those things as a city,” he added.
Brekhus said that she had gone to the city’s human rights commision, sent letters to get the naming committee and attended meetings. Due to HRC asking her to get this issue on the agenda, and criticism from Reese, she said she felt as though she was getting it from both sides.
“I support both of my colleagues’ comments,” Duerr said. “I think that it’s not a huge rush, it should be done well.”
“I think no motion, we’ll move on,” Brekhus said.
The Council agreed to postpone the naming until they had a more complete idea of what to do about the alley.
April 27 proclaimed as Denim Day
Council member Neoma Jardon stood in place of Mayor Hillary Schieve to proclaim April 27 as Denim Day. It is named for a trial in which the rape survivor was blamed for the attack with many saying that her jeans were too tight to be taken off by one person, so she must have assisted in the encounter.
Denim Day is there to honor survivors of sexual assault and the work put towards lessening these incidents.