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2018 State of the City

Big Arts Little City

Post Date:01/18/2018 4:00 PM

State of the City Big Arts Little City

Community Engagement Fair

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Miss the fair? Get information from various City departments that participated in the fair:

Watch the State of the City address

Introduction by City Manager Sabra Newby:

Good evening, and thank you for being here for our 2018 State of the City address. I’m Reno City Manager Sabra Newby. It’s been a pleasure to serve the public in this capacity since I started at the City of Reno in May 2017. To City of Reno staff, community leaders and citizens, we are honored that you have joined us this evening.

I also want to offer a sincere thank you to our Reno City Council Members who are here tonight. Please welcome to the stage:

  • Neoma Jardon, Vice Mayor and representative of Ward 5
  • Jenny Brekhus, representative of Ward 1
  • Naomi Duerr, representative of Ward 2
  • Oscar Delgado, representative of Ward 3

I’d like to take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the Reno City Council for all their hard work. 

Now, will everyone please rise for the Presentation of Colors by a joint Color Guard of the Reno Fire Department and Reno Police Department. The Star-Spangled Banner will be performed by local singer Grace Hayes:
[Presentation of Colors & National Anthem by Grace Hayes]

Thank you, Grace. And please give our Reno City Council another round of applause.

What a wonderful way to kick off the State of the City. Before we begin, I’d like to invite you to participate in tonight’s event by using #SOTCReno on social media.

It’s very exciting to witness the incredible talent from the UNR Jazz Ensemble, Reno Jazz Orchestra, Sierra Nevada Ballet, Sam Weber and Controlled Burn Reno, who have helped provide the entertainment for tonight’s event. Thank you as well to TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada, The Note-Ables and A.V.A. Ballet Theatre, who will perform for you later this evening.

Thanks also to tonight’s musical guests. Let’s give another round of applause to Grace Hayes, an incredible local singer who performed tonight’s National Anthem. And the Note-ables, a group of professional musicians who shatter the stereotype that people with disabilities have limited talents and abilities. The Note-ables will take the stage later.

Tonight, we will hear from our Mayor, Hillary Schieve, who will shine a spotlight on our “Big Arts Little City” and elaborate on Reno’s continued progress. Since taking office as Mayor in 2014, you may have heard her refer to The Biggest Little City’s contagious energy as the “Reno Revival.”

You will hear specifically about our accomplishments over the past year, some of the major opportunities we can capitalize on moving forward and ideas about what our great city might look like in the future.

Before we bring the Mayor up on stage, we’re going to hear from one of our generous sponsors. It’s my pleasure to introduce Jennifer Cunningham, Executive Vice President of the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority, more affectionately known in our community as the RSCVA.

Jennifer Cunningham, RSCVA Executive Vice President

Thank you, Sabra. On behalf of the RSCVA, it’s such an honor to be here today as an advocate of the arts, which so thoroughly enrich the quality of life here in Reno.

Northern Nevada is known throughout the world for its vast, wild landscapes and western heritage. But more and more, the Reno area is gaining notoriety as a cradle for an assortment of art and the artists who create it.

We have an inspiring variety of aesthetic special events, an impressive performing arts calendar, historical architecture, locally driven galleries and, of course, the only nationally accredited art museum in the state.

Arts and culture make Reno the place you want to live. It makes Reno an attractive place to do business. It makes the destination desirable for visitors, and it also motivates others to create and to contribute.

Arts and culture also means business. The City of Reno Arts and Culture Commission is instrumental in building synergy with residents, business partners and artists – helping to diversify and strengthen the local economy.

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis estimates the arts to be a $704 billion industry, representing 4.2 percent of the country’s GDP. To put it in perspective, that’s bigger than transportation – and agriculture. The nonprofit arts are said to generate $135 billion – accounting for 41 million jobs and $22.3 billion dollars in governmental revenue throughout the country.

So, how does this translate to our city?

According to a 2015 to 2016 study by Americans for the Arts, Reno spent $89 million producing, creating and supporting arts and culture – well above the national median investment of $35.7 million.

The City of Reno is home to 92 non-profit arts and cultural organizations, which – combined – would make it the fourth-largest employer in Washoe County, representing more than 2,600 jobs – which is fewer than only the Washoe County School District, the University of Nevada, and Renown Regional Medical Center.

In addition to creating jobs and greatly improving quality of life, the arts are also a major consideration for people who want to travel – which, of course, is near and dear to my heart. 

Research shows that tourists who are interested in arts and culture will stay longer – visiting more shops, restaurants and galleries. It’s also a major draw for international travelers, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, which reports that 28 percent of international travelers visit museums during their journeys – an increase of 10 percent over the last 15 years.

Arts and culture stimulates emotion, helping to create positive experiences and memories that visitors will later share with their friends and families.

At the RSCVA, we invite media and social media influencers to enjoy the growing arts and culture community in Reno-Tahoe, and to share that with their readers and their followers.

In one example from last summer, a travel and lifestyle influencer wrote: “Reno itself was a hip city packed with breweries, art, and a unique culture that completely blew me away. Imagine a budding Austin in Nevada – a city combining the golden history of Reno with an artistic and organic young population. The mix creates a vibe like none other, and I’m excited to see what the future of reno holds.”

This beautiful arts and culture movement is so deeply ingrained in our culture that the RSCVA Board of Directors identified it as a strategic priority in an effort to attract visitors. We hired one of the best tourism marketing agencies in the country.

We worked closely with them to research and identify the region’s strengths, as well as target markets and potential customers. Collectively, we sifted through mountains of data to hone in on who our customer is, what they’re looking for and what we have to offer them.

A principle finding of the research cited that – when selecting a vacation destination – our target customer takes into consideration the attitude and practice of “creative placemaking.”

With that in mind, we created a vibrant advertising campaign which identifies the arts as one of our primary marketing messages – which also influenced the entire re-creation of the consumer-facing Reno Tahoe brand.

Here’s an example of our new, reinvigorated marketing campaign. You can see these billboards in high-traffic areas throughout the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as Los Angeles and Seattle.

You can see they have an artistic, cultural influence – and we have seen an overwhelming, and impressive response to this messaging. VisitRenoTahoe.com had a visitation spike of 600 percent from these markets during our new campaign.
Even though L.A. and Seattle are new markets for us, those numbers are above and beyond expectation. We can see this effort in action – building awareness of the exciting cultural shift that we’re experiencing throughout the destination – and the City of Reno.

Our city has suddenly become cool from a national perspective. Burning Man has done a lot for our coolness factor, no doubt. But we’re also home to the month-long Artown festival, dozens of murals and awesome street art throughout the city, a Playa Park, a top-notch Philharmonic and Chamber Orchestra and an amazing ballet company.

We can even brag about our 15-ton Space Whale at City Plaza! And there’s much more – too many to name, in fact. And none of us can take credit for all of it, but collectively we all choose to embrace it and to help it grow organically. 

The RSCVA collects room taxes, and a portion of those funds are dedicated each year to supporting the arts. Last year, some of the unique initiatives we supported included the inaugural Reno Mural Expo, highlighting local, national and international artists. We also helped welcome the Banksy “Haight Street Rat” exhibition – right here in the heart of The Biggest Little City – it doesn’t get much cooler than that.

We at the RSCVA are also fortunate to have a board member who works to ensure that residents and visitors all have access to high-quality art, reflecting a variety of cultures.

In September, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve was selected as chair of the United States Conference of Mayors Standing Committee on Tourism, Arts, Parks, Entertainment and Sports. She has been recognized by her community, and by her peers as a champion of the arts, and is the first woman in more than 25 years to chair that national committee.

It doesn’t get much cooler than that.

Intro Video

Mayor Hillary Schieve

Good evening everyone! Wow, what a crowd we have here tonight.

How about a huge round of applause for your Reno City Council and Three Sticks Productions!

Author and activist Jane Jacobs once said: “Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody…only because...and only when...they are created by everybody.”

As you know, every year we pick a new venue and theme for our State of the City address. This year, we felt that arts and culture was the perfect fit.

I wanted to host the event in this magical place we call the Pioneer Center. I can remember coming here as a little girl and thinking this place had special powers. I mean, who wouldn’t, with its sparkling gold roof and architectural elements that dazzle you? I am proud to say that this is still one of Reno’s most iconic buildings. Therefore, please join me in giving a huge round of applause to Willis Allen, Mark Ashworth and the entire Pioneer board.

It’s impressive that our arts scene has been recognized on the world and national stage. I strongly believe that is why I have been appointed by the U.S Conference of Mayors to represent all mayors in the United States on tourism, arts, parks, entertainment, and sports. I hope you will join me in welcoming several mayors from all over the country this August to experience firsthand our world-famous arts and culture scene.

If there is anything I have learned from being your mayor over the last three years, it’s that running a city is truly an art form. It takes many artists like yourselves to shape a city. I have learned that we are all artists in one form or another.

From building bridges, to fixing our streets, to revitalizing our downtown, to preserving scenic landscapes, to keeping our community safe, to creating strong neighborhoods, to building new parks...even balancing budgets.

Providing a blueprint for Reno’s future was a top priority for your City Council. We engaged our community on how they wanted to shape their city, over the next 20 years. I am here to tell you that we rose to the challenge. Over the last two years, more than 9,000 residents provided feedback on the city’s new Master Plan. That participation is incredible!

French artist Henri Matisse, known for his use of color, once said, “Creativity takes courage.”

Tonight, I want to highlight the guiding principles that will become the blueprint for Reno’s future:

  • A thriving downtown and university district have continued to be a top priority for our community.
  • Responsible and well-managed growth and providing residents access to a variety of housing and lifestyle options.
  • Outdoor recreation opportunities and preserving open spaces will keep our community healthy and strong.
  • A resilient economy will ensure that Reno continues to be an attractive place for businesses and relocation.
  • As motorists and travelers increase, a well-connected city and region that provides for efficient transportation and safe access is critical.
  • Providing a safe, healthy and inclusive community becomes more important each day.
  • And finally, effective government.

Your city strives to be fiscally responsible, accessible and responsive to our residents and business community.

I am proud that every year this Council has put fiscal accountability at the top of their list of priorities. Debt reduction continues to highlight our commitment to fiscal stability. The City of Reno’s total debt has decreased by nearly $200 million under this Council while being able to maintain a stable bond rating and a favorable outlook.

Last year, I promised that our city would bring in new, vibrant leadership and foster a new culture to lift Reno up for years to come. For the media here tonight, I promise that will be my last airline pun.

I promised we would find an innovative leader who would help our city to achieve new accomplishments. Sabra newby has done just that in just a few short months. She has filled a number of new positions and has made great strides in building upon the new vision for Reno.

I would like to collectively recognize all of our hardworking City of Reno employees. You are the backbone of this city and for that we are grateful. Please stand for a huge round of applause. Go City of Reno!

The guiding principles of our Master Plan are what make Reno a great city, and will continue to usher us into the future, making our city an even better place to live, to work and to play.

Speaking of play, many people are noticing our downtown revitalization. I keep saying you won’t recognize downtown Reno in three years.

Now, come on, who doesn’t just love The Eddy...or the world’s largest climbing wall...or how about tubing in the Truckee River? And coming soon, the ReTRAC dog park. I could go on and on!

Downtown revitalization and homeless issues have been a solid focus for Vice Mayor Neoma Jardon during her tenure on the Council. I am incredibly proud of her work. Here is a glimpse:

Thank you, Neoma. She gets it!

One of the key components and most exciting developments that came out of the Downtown Action Plan was the creation of a Business Improvement District, which would result in a cleaner and safer downtown.

The formation of this district, along with new private investment, will continue our Reno Revival. The Business Improvement District aims to put ambassadors in the downtown core who will work on critical areas of focus, such as homelessness, cleanliness and providing welcoming information for our residents and tourists. 

The city could not do this alone. This public and private partnership has proven to be successful in other cities, and I want to thank the businesses, our residents and Operation Downtown, who have worked so hard to make this a reality.

We have heard you loud and clear that downtown revitalization continues to be a top priority. This prompted us to come up with an aggressive Downtown Action Plan. The action plan focuses on housing for everyone, more parking options, reduction of blighted properties and enhanced art, activities, and tourism options. These plans have already been put into action.

Private investment in the downtown core continues to flourish. Just take a walk along Center Street and Pine Street, and you will see that a former boarded-up motel has been remodeled into 24 modern residential units.

And an old liquor store will become home to a hip new pizza restaurant called Sizzle Pie. If you turn down Pine Street, you can have a great cup of joe at See See Motor Coffee Company. And, if you are up to the challenge, you can play a game of bocce ball at the Renaissance Hotel.

3rd Street Flats continues to set the bar with the opening of a new urban market. Owners Denise and Dale Barcomb truly set a new standard for downtown grocers, providing fresh baked products and a smoothie to die for. And right next door you can enjoy some delicious korean food at Bab Café.

Last May, we saw the blight buster initiative in full effect, beginning with several demolitions of properties that were dilapidated and uninhabitable on West Fourth Street. The Carriage Inn, Stardust Lodge and other blighted properties have been taken down, bringing new life to the area.

To date, Jacobs Entertainment has invested $100 million into the area, including the purchase of the Sands Regency. We look forward to hearing more of the proposed Fountain District in the year ahead.

Properties along Virginia Street are also making substantial investments in downtown Reno. Whitney peak impressed us with the opening of a new event space. And Eldorado Resorts continues to invest more than $100 million on upgrades and renovations to all three of their properties.

We look forward to more exciting news from them in 2018.

2018 will bring several new housing projects to downtown Reno. We look forward to the transformation of another boarded-up motel by HabeRae Development, 52 new lofts on Sierra Street and the construction of 40 new residential multi-family units on Park Street along the river.

How about a big round of applause for all the job creators, blight busters and housing heroes.

As we look at our downtown, the time has come to take a regional approach for some of our biggest challenges. I am proud to say that Washoe County and the City of Sparks have agreed to join forces in this regional approach. This new approach will help us tackle some of our greatest challenges: from homelessness, to mental illness, to housing.

This year, the City of Reno will spend about $4 million on homeless services, affordable housing and supporting our low-income residents. But to tackle homelessness at its core, we must pay attention to its causes.

One cause I feel strongly about is the opioid epidemic. Let me give you some chilling statistics: Did you know that Nevada is the fourth-highest state in the nation on opioid overdoses? And of the Americans addicted to heroin, 80 percent of them started with an addiction to prescription drugs.

Now, I am optimistic as a community that we can make a change when it comes to caring for our homeless population. I want to reiterate, this is not just in our city, this is a worldwide epidemic. When I hosted the Mental Health and Addiction Summit, I was astounded by the hundreds of attendees and the heart-wrenching stories.

I am proud to announce that we stayed dedicated by making the pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions by becoming one of more than 200 cities in the nation to see them in court. They have turned ruining lives and cities into a billion-dollar business.

At the core of fighting these challenges is the development of strong neighborhoods and community spaces. Now, if there is one Council Member that knows about building strong neighborhoods and championing more parks, that is Councilmember Oscar Delgado:

Thank you, Oscar.

I am so sad that after my last State of the City speech, we were all devastated to hear that the Traner Pool had been vandalized, leaving hundreds of kids and community members without a place to swim.

Thankfully our community stepped up, and I would like to thank those who donated: The William N. Pennington Foundation, Northern Nevada Construction and Building Trades, Lifestyle Homes, D&D Roofing, Farr West Engineering, as well as other donations made through the Community Foundation.

Again, these are more examples of the public and private partnerships I’m talking about. Thank you, we couldn’t have done it without you!

Another win for our parks and rec team was when staff worked for several months with American Ramp Company to design the City of Reno’s fifth and newest skate park at Miguel Ribera.

Other park projects that were recently completed include the Idlewild Park shared use path, and several improvements at Mary Gojack Park. And be on the lookout for the reconstruction of the Swope Pyramid and the Pembroke Recreational Complex.

We will continue to make parks a priority and revitalize neighborhoods. Part of the effort starts with helping those who need it most. The City launched the first renovated home as part of our Neighborhood Renewal Program. It was exciting to see the response of Elizabeth Shepard. Did anyone see this news story? I got so emotional, and wanted to share it with you:

KOLO video: “First home renovated as part of the Reno's Neighborhood Renewal Program

I’d like to thank the hundreds of volunteers who helped revitalize her home, and the incredible partnership with Truckee Meadows Habitat for Humanity. What a story.

Homes are the building block of strong neighborhoods. Housing has and will remain one of the City Council’s top priorities. Because the housing needs are so critical, I will be asking the City Council to support an initiative that would fast track both affordable housing and infill developments through the zoning and permitting process.

We must remain dedicated to an aggressive approach with policies such as the vision of tiny homes, accessory dwelling units, ease on parking restrictions, allowing for higher density and alleviating up-front costs for development. We believe this will spur more affordable-housing initiatives.

As many of you know, this is a national crisis. Housing shortages have not only affected Reno; this is something that continues to affect the entire nation. We think that public and private partnerships are essential to move the market in the right direction.

That is why I formed the Mayor’s Task Force on Housing. This task force has helped bring a regional approach to the building and permitting process. I’d like to thank this task force for their work at the state and local level. Thank you Chairman Don Tatro, Vice Mayor Neoma Jardon, Commissioner Bob Lucey, Bill Thomas, Max Haynes, Ted Erkan, Andy Durling, Vince Griffith, Eric Raydon and Rob Fitzgerald.

You have our commitment that we will remain committed to these challenges.

I do have some positive news. Although we are not out of the woods yet, recent construction activity has started to turn the vacancy rate curve for apartments, with around 4,000 units in the construction pipeline.

The Park Lane site encompasses 46 acres of a mixed-use community with retail space for restaurants and other stores that will serve residents and visitors throughout the region creating a true urban village of the live/work lifestyle.

When Park Lane is completed, it will include over 1,600 urban designed apartments. Construction of the units will begin in April of this year. I am truly excited to see the infill project finally coming to fruition. Not only does it clean up blight, it will create needed housing for our region.

Some of the accomplishments last year in the housing sector were more than $1 million in HOME funds, which went toward multi-family and affordable housing projects.

And the Reno Housing Authority will soon be developing more affordable and creative wrap-around service housing options. Last month the Reno Housing Authority closed on a piece of property on Sutro, right across the street from the Washoe County Senior Center, that will allow us to build much-needed affordable housing units for our senior population. I am proud to say that the RHA provides over 3,500 families with housing in our community. Thank you, Amy Jones, and your incredible team at RHA.

We are also very grateful to those in the private sector who continue to build affordable housing for our seniors, veterans and families in need. And a big thank you to Dane Hillyard and Jim Zaccheo of Green Street Properties and Matt Fleming for bringing in 1,500 additional affordable units. That is impressive! Let’s give it up for our affordable-housing heroes.

This is merely a sampling of the development projects underway, and only this supply will help us slow down the increasing rental markets. We must have the supply to meet the demand to continue affordability.

As we talk about neighborhoods and housing, the conversation must include another strong building block, which is public safety.

Councilmember Paul McKenzie recognizes and supports the hardworking men and women of the Reno Police and Fire Departments.

And who can believe that we actually got Councilmember Paul McKenzie to do yoga?

Thank you, Paul.

Doing more with less is a challenge our first responders combat on a daily basis. I am incredibly proud of the tremendous leadership of Police Chief Jason Soto and Fire Chief David Cochran.

Under Chief Soto, the Reno Police Department has stayed focused on the task at hand, starting July 1st with the implementation of Senate Bill 176 and the hard work of the region’s public safety officers this bill was passed. Every officer will now be required to wear body cameras for transparency, accountability and trust.

I am also excited to announce that Chief Soto has made it a priority to reimplement the Motel Improvement Team. This team is a collaboration between the Reno Police Department and Code Enforcement. The team’s mission is to change the environment in and around each motel to create safe and law-abiding neighborhoods. This is necessary to improve living conditions for vulnerable populations.

I also have some fantastic news tonight, that Chief Soto made it a priority to bring in a dedicated full-time detective who will be partnering with local FBI agents. This position is aimed at addressing the growing problem of domestic sex trafficking of children in the United States.

As many of you know, RPD has stayed dedicated to community policing.

The City Council has promised to remain committed to bringing back our police force to meet our growing demands. Unfortunately, when this Council took office, we had 290 sworn officers, which was a grim number dating back to 1970 levels.

Today, I’m proud to say that we now have 330 sworn officers. This Council remained dedicated to keeping citizens safe by adding 40 officers during our tenure. We shall remain committed with an RPD goal of 360 sworn officers by the year 2020.

Please give your Reno Police Department and Police Chief Jason Soto a huge round of applause.

As our community expands, the Reno Fire Department is no stranger to growth. Did you know that they answered more than 42,000 calls for service in 2017? Think about it, that is five calls per hour, every hour, for 365 days! This is a record number of calls in their 129-year history.

While that stat is impressive, it further demonstrates how much our city is growing.
Our first responders will continue to be called on to meet these demands. These men and women have done a tremendous job at keeping our neighborhoods healthy and safe, which are vital to the great quality of life.

The Reno Fire Department has done an outstanding job with manning all fire stations to respond to medical emergencies. Meanwhile responding to various catastrophic events with our regional partners such as REMSA and Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

This is just one example of how our regional cooperation has come together to make safety its top priority for its residents. Thank you, Chief Cochran, and to the entire Reno Fire Department for all your love and compassion you show our city everyday.

As we talk about our region’s successes, building strong communities and protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents, I can’t help but think to the future. How can our city maintain this quality of life for future generations?

Well, the answer is by building sustainable and resilient neighborhoods. Someone that knows quite a bit about being resilient, and who is our biggest energy advocate, is Councilmember David Bobzien:

Thank you, David.

Last year, the City of Reno was invited to join the City Energy Project as one of the 20 pioneering cities working to boost our local economies and reduce climate pollution. This ambitious program is known as ReEnergize Reno.

Even our local businesses are taking part. I noticed the other day that the Atlantis Casino recently began using smart meter technology that will cut down their water usage by up to 30 percent. And check this out: The Peppermill Reno is the only U.S. hotel heated 100 percent by on-site geothermal energy.

Sustainable communities also rely on transportation infrastructure to meet the needs of our growing populations. We are excited to be working with the RTC to bring you a bike share program. This type of program would provide useful transportation and green options for residents and visitors alike.

Finally, resilient communities rely on economic growth and prosperity to provide jobs and financial resources.

Just yesterday was another monumental event: We broke ground on the new Apple facility in downtown Reno. How many of you attended? Wasn’t that incredible to have Apple CEO Tim Cook right here in downtown Reno. Today, we can now call Reno The Biggest Little Apple. Eat your heart out, New York!

Reno’s trajectory has been nothing short of amazing, and don’t expect it to stop anytime soon. Many of you have probably noticed that today it is hard not to pick up a national paper without them talking about Reno being on the rise. The biggest and brightest companies are choosing us. Let me say it again, the biggest and brightest companies are choosing us!

Nevada remains one of the fastest-growing states in the nation with record employment and jobs created by small businesses. This certainly is a different story than three years ago, when unemployment was at an all-time high of 14 percent. Today, it has dropped remarkably to 3.9 percent.

Growth, innovation, inclusion, resilience: These are all words that define the culture of the new Reno. A person who is no stranger to culture is Councilmember Naomi Duerr, who has been a champion for the arts, and her leadership has taken arts and culture to the next level:

Thank you, Naomi. And to the Arts and Culture Commision for painting our city so beautifully. It was the Commission who brought you Mural Fest; who went to Mural Fest?

And let’s not forget Beth McMillan and the Artown team for bringing our community a month long of free arts and culture events that are off the hook amazing! Will the Arts and Culture Commission and the Artown board please stand for a huge round of applause.

Diverse arts and culture is the lifeblood of this incredible city that we call home. We started the evening with a variety of performances by local artists including the UNR Jazz Ensemble, Reno Jazz Orchestra, Sierra Nevada Ballet, Sam Weber and our emcee, comedian Justin Rupple.

I would like to take a moment to thank the RSCVA for their support of tonight’s event. As a member of this board, I see first hand how hard the team is working to promote our incredible city to visitors from all around the world. Please join me in giving a big round of applause to RSCVA chairman Bob Lucey, CEO Phil DeLone, Executive Vice President Jennifer Cunningham and the rest of the team.

Our tourism community continues to invest in their facilities to attract even more visitors, with the Grand Sierra Resort investing $50 million on the opening of a newly renovated pool, and they just recently announced the addition of a public ice skating rink.

Head to South Meadows, where Owen Blake will bring us The Loop, a $30 million project that will cover over 20 acres of recreational uses.

This look back at 2017 shows that Reno surely has a buzz about it. There are so many easy ways to sell Reno: be it 320 days of sunshine, an incredible tax climate, affordability, proximity to the bay area, not to mention, some of the best ski resorts in the world just a short drive away.

Of all the benefits that Reno has, it really comes back to the people. I am proud to say that it’s truly the people of this community who have shaped the new Reno Master Plan. So I’d like to call this new plan the people’s plan, which is providing us a roadmap into the future.

Tonight I have highlighted many great projects and programs that are improving our city. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, I don’t have the time to feature everything.

So please give up a final round of applause for all those who are building businesses in our community, participating in boards and commissions, donating time and money to support key programs and working every single day to making The Biggest Little City the best little community in the world!

It is now that we have a blank canvas to begin 2018. Now be sure to stay in your seats for the rest of tonight’s amazing entertainment.

Before I finish, I want to share a beautiful story with you about how art heals.

[Les Leggett speaks]

Thank you again, and remember, be kind. I love my city. God bless!

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