RENO, Nev. (MyNews4.com & KRNV) -- The city of Reno has launched a new effort to clean up the downtown area. They are getting tough with property owners and targeting those who fail to keep things clean and looking good.
They have shuffled the staff to focus more on downtown and city officials say the effort is already paying off. News 4's Joe Hart went on a ride-along to see what is being done.
Reno's Code Enforcement Manager Alex Woodley has a new job these days. He is now in charge of downtown revitalization, focusing his time and effort cleaning up the downtown core and spotting code violators. "What happens is we all have responsibilities for the city as a whole. We just needed that extra focus for downtown."
The state legislature has given cities more power to enforce code violations. For example, a parking lot for example across from the Sands Casino on Ralston was filled with trash and debris. But before it could be sold, the city stepped in and demanded it be cleaned up.
"We held up the escrow until they took care of it," said Woodley. "Which they did and we released our notice of violation."
Also on the list, the vacant lot across from Aces Ballpark. "This was full of weeds, sagebrush and it's all cleared up now," Woodley said.
The lot is bank-owned, but the city has demanded the bank get it cleaned up. That is exactly what's happening.
One of the targets of this program is the old Kings Inn, an empty property that has been a thorn in the city's side for years. The Kings Inn is back on the market after years in bankruptcy, and the sellers, a group of investors out of Las Vegas, are being held accountable.
"We addressed numerous issues with graffiti, busted windows," Woodley said. "They addressed all of it."
Woodley also said a new paint job could be next for the property that has long been considered one of the city's biggest eyesores.
Reno Mayor Bob Cashell said the renewed focus on downtown will pay off with special events and summer tourists arriving soon. "We needed somebody to supervise downtown a little bit more, and to be a little more hands on."
For Alex Woodley, a new mission and a little more power to enforce the law are paying dividends. "We want to make sure people feel safe and that it looks nice."
Woodley's downtown assignment is a temporary one. The focus will likely last through the summer.
As for the Kings Inn, the city will be re-inspecting that property next month, to make sure the owners are complying and to identify what else needs to be done.