Down with downtown

The Holes of Downtown are getting filled up. Not just some of the Holes. All of ’em. Well, all the big ones, anyway. It’s a beautiful thing.

And after that realization came this one; that I don’t really care how the Holes are getting filled, but only that they are getting filled. Because large holes in a downtown area don’t make impressive proclamations of municipal vitality. The Hole at the corner of First and Sierra streets, for example, that one directly behind the Century Theatres Riverside, has already been filled with a decent enough building, one that is destined to house at least one chimichanga-oriented eatery. No problem there. And that gaping Hole across the street from the movies, the one on the southeastern corner of First and Sierra streets, is in the process of being filled by a sizable slab that will bring a few dozen residents to the block. The same thing is happening at the Hole behind the Riverside Artist Lofts—condominiums. Condos, townhouses, apartments: long overdue additions to the overall feel of downtown Reno. Because somehow, it’s just not a real downtown if the only people there are grumbling workers, sleep-starved winos and dazed touristas. (And when one takes into account the number of old hotel rooms being converted into condos, downtown Reno may soon experience a veritable glut of residential opportunities).

The last stop on the Tour of Holes is the plot at First and Virginia streets, where the Mapes Hotel used to be. That Hole, which has been plugged in recent winters by that slapdash ice rink that looked like it was designed by the same architectural firm that brought us Moana Stadium, will soon be filled by a much swanker ice rink/plaza complex. Fine. Bring it.

So it shall soon come to pass that The Four Big Holes of downtown Reno that have sorta been like civic acne scars will be filled with the putty of concrete, steel and glass, and the streets of downtown will brim with commerce and residents and a bustling little river scene, and it should be pretty darn nice and a decent place to take the relatives, and that “can’t this city get anything done?” attitude of a few years ago might just hop into the river at the kayak slalom track and float on into the Sparks sewage treatment plant.

And while these four Holes are in the process of disappearing, one should not overlook the new Hole that is being built, one which will complement nicely all of these new developments. This new Hole is, of course, more accurately described as a Trench, one which will very likely be finished on time and within budget, and let’s tell the truth here—once it’s completed, no one will ever blather on about the good ole days when you used to be able to take a nap waiting for the goddamn Amtrak to load and unload.

So why do I still have this insistent feeling that by the year 2015 I’ll have moved to a lavish yurt on the outskirts of Caliente?