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Former Sparks Mayor Geno Martini dies at the age of 77

 A portrait photo of a man
City of Sparks
Former Sparks Mayor Geno Martini.

After a rough couple of weeks, Mayor Martini passed away on June 1 in Sparks surrounded by loved ones.

Martini had been living with Parkinson's disease since 2012, a diagnosis he made public in 2015.

Mayor Martini was the longest-serving leader of the City of Sparks, serving from 2005 to 2018. He was also a Sparks City council member from 1999 to 2005.

Martini served during strong economic times as well as during the Great Recession. He was also instrumental in many projects, including the Sparks Marina, the Outlets at Legends, and the downtown Victorian Square redevelopment.

Adam Mayberry, a member of the Washoe County School Board and longtime Sparks resident considered Martini a mentor and friend.

“It's really a sad day. I'm going to miss him so much. I loved him like a father,” Mayberry said.

Martini helped Sparks become more than just a city next to Reno, he said.

“It really wasn't that long ago that the City of Sparks was merely a bedroom community to Reno. Right around 2005 is when we really started seeing a lot of the output of the Costco, the restaurants and dining. All that really got started when Martini was at the helm. His legacy is going to be long lasting,” Mayberry said.

Funeral services have not yet been announced.

Maria joined KUNR Public Radio in December 2022 as a staff reporter. She is interested in stories about underserved communities, immigration, arts and culture, entertainment, education and health.