UNR targets historic homes, again

UNR targets historic homes, again

The administration of Marc Johnson at the University of Nevada, Reno is quietly seeking a vote by the Nevada Board of Regents to “pre-approve” the removal of some of Reno’s oldest residences from the campus-adjacent neighborhood between Interstate 80 and University Terrace.

The briefing paper attached to the Regents’ agenda item for its Nov. 30 meeting reads in part, “Given the university’s proximity to downtown, all of the parties wish to extend the university’s presence south to I-80 to help serve as a catalyst to revitalize land south of I-80 to downtown Reno.” Actually, many in the community tried to stop the university from changing the residential setting of that neighborhood. There was considerable activism around the issue in 2014.

In a lengthy online posting about the agenda item, Reno historian Alicia Barber provides information not included in the staff-written regents briefing paper, and also criticizes the campus’s failure to provide a “a transparent and inclusive process” for the public. She reports that two months ago, Johnson himself “suddenly announced to members of Reno’s Historical Resources Commission that the university had found a destination for five or six of the Center Street houses, and would be proceeding with a plan to move them there.”

The buildings at issue are 12 Queen Anne-style homes on Center, Lake and Eighth streets—six of them on the west side of Center—that date back to the 1890s. One of them is listed on the state and city historic registers, and others are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The campus has been eyeing the neighborhood for development in alliance with some redevelopment officials for many years (“More redevelopment,” RN&R, Oct. 15, 2009). Email addresses for regents can be found at https://nshe.nevada.edu/leadership-policy/board-of-regents/current-regents/.