On Tuesday, December 16, an 11-year collaboration will culminate in a groundbreaking ceremony for the Northern Nevada Transitional Housing (NNTH).
The facility will be operated by the Nevada Department of Corrections and is one of the final stages of an ongoing real-estate and business partnership that began in 2003 between the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony (RSIC), the Nevada State Public Works Division (SPWD), Washoe County School District (WCSD), and the Nevada Department of Corrections (DOC). The partnership was formalized in 2005 by the Nevada State Legislature with Assembly Bill 299.
According to an RSIC press release, the collaboration was “designed to benefit all parties through increased revenue, new community amenities, revenue sharing for education, and increased urban development and private partnerships.”
The ground breaking will take place at 2 p.m. at 1840 East 2nd Street, Reno, Nevada.
“By having a vision and taking advantage of an opportunity, we can accomplish great things working with one another,” said Arlan D. Melendez, tribal chairman for the RSIC. “AB299, which was passed unanimously in 2005, outlines those great accomplishments.”
The project fills several needs for the RSIC, the DOC, and the WCSD. RSIC was approached by Walmart Stores Inc. in 2003 to lease space for a Supercenter. The potential Superstore provided appeal for two reasons: first, it would redevelop, cleanup and change the land use to the adjoining neighborhood; second, the store would provide substantial revenues for the RSIC to finance, design and construct a much-needed health center for its community.
Around the same time RSIC was deliberating on the Supercenter, the DOC’s needs changed. Discussion grew about expanding its mission to move away from traditional incarceration of offenders to a transitional center which would focus on skill development. Unfortunately, the DOC’s current restitution center was built as a penitentiary that could only accommodate male trustees at an average capacity of 85 individuals. The future home of the NNTH will be able to serve both men and women and serve up to 119 trustees with the ability to expand to 132. Residents will be required to meet a strict qualification check per state guidelines.
The WCSD released s severe future funding problem projection in 2003 as well. The funding would need to cover new school construction and renovations that had been sidetracked for its older schools. “As recently as last month, the Nevada State Education Association advocated for more funding to reduce class sizes, more tools and technology, early childhood education, a safe and supportive learning environment, and the ability to attract and retain quality educators.”
AB299’s collaboration will see portions of the sales tax revenue from the retail store on RSIC property be paid to the WCSD. This amount is estimated to be $500,000 annually with an increase to about $1 million when the loan for construction expires.
RSIC celebrated the sixth year of operation of the Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center this past summer which was a direct result of this multi-agency collaboration. The spacious 65,000 square-foot health center provides medical care for the RSIC tribal members along with an additional 6,000 Northern Nevada Urban Indians.
Tuesday’s groundbreaking will begin the construction of Nevada’s new $8 million housing community – a significant milestone of AB299.