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KUNR Today: Reno City Council approves plans for affordable housing, e-scooters

Community Foundation of Western Nevada
This rendering shows plans for the Village at Sage Street in Reno. City officials have approved a plan to build similar housing.

Read or listen to the morning news headlines for Friday, Dec. 10, 2021.

Reno in early stages of planning more affordable dorm-style housing units
By Gustavo Sagrero

The Reno City Council has set aside $500,000 to purchase two affordable housing units with almost 100 dorm-style apartments.

At this week’s council meeting, a city analyst said they don’t have a clear cut idea on where the apartments will end up just yet, and they don’t have all the details worked out for tenants either, but with concerns of rising rent causing displacement, Council Member Devon Reese said now is the time to act.

“The truth is we are winging it, it’s not planned, and that’s OK sometimes; that’s how you have to react,” Reese said.

The city is building off of a project they’ve done before called the Village on Sage Street, which has nearly 200 affordable housing units. Before the new dorms are bought, city managers will need to report back to council to fill in the rest of the project details.

People who earn less than 60% of the Area Median Income will be able to apply for housing like this. The median household income for Reno - according to 2019 census data - is fewer than $59,000 dollars.

Reno approves contract with e-scooter company
By Gustavo Sagrero

The Reno City Council has approved an exclusive contract with e-scooter company Bird for three years. Bird will pay about $80,000 in annual fees, on top of a one-time $14,000 registration fee.

Excluding the University of Nevada, Reno campus, 500-1,000 scooters will be placed around the downtown area. Over time, that number will change according to demand. A management analyst for the city says the company has provisions in place that will help curb the litter created by scooters, which could limit mobility in public spaces for people with disabilities. While in use, scooters won't be allowed on sidewalks, either.

Before scooters are introduced, Bird representatives will need to meet with the city council again with a proposal on how they’ll create outreach and education, as well as how they’d limit sidewalk use and handle storage.

Reno Housing Authority leases land and property to shelter people during winter
By Lucia Starbuck

The Reno Housing Authority is leasing land and property to Washoe County to be used as shelter for community members experiencing homelessness. The agreement will last for six months and was made in anticipation for extreme cold weather and winter. The land is also near the large homeless shelter, the Nevada Cares Campus.

Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, who’s also a Reno Housing Authority Board member, said, “Cold weather means added stress on our homeless population.”

The site has three buildings that were formerly used to store RVs. Minor construction is needed to make sure the space is safe for sleeping overnight.

Lucia Starbuck is a corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project.

TMCC president to take extended medical leave
By KUNR Staff

Truckee Meadows Community College President Karin Hilgersom announced earlier this week that she will be taking extended family medical leave. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, it is for her husband’s illness. Hilgersom has been the president for five years, and the assistant vice president will take over during her absence.

Western governors meet to discuss several issues, including flying cars
By Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

That's right: flying cars.

The governors listened to a keynote address from Cyrus Sigari. He’s with the California-based investment firm Up Partners, which focuses on advanced air mobility - essentially small drones or other vehicles that carry people or cargo through the sky.

While recordings of the Western governor’s conference weren’t immediately available, Sigari delivered a similar keynote address earlier this month at a conference in Los Angeles.

“We’re not that far away from being able to get our things through the sky with a right-sized vehicle as opposed to a 3,000-pound truck that’s burning gas,” he said during that address.

Last month, the U.S. House passed a bill creating an interagency working group to plan and coordinate efforts to boost the air mobility industry in the U.S.

Road closures on SR 431 over the weekend
By KUNR Staff

Upper sections of the Mt. Rose Highway will be closed above Sky Tavern Road over the weekend, while the Nevada Department of Transportation performs emergency repairs to a drainage pipe under the highway.

Motorists will still be able to travel lower Mt. Rose Highway from Alternate U.S. 395 to Sky Tavern Road. Drivers are encouraged to use alternate routes to travel between south Reno and north Lake Tahoe or area ski resorts.

The highway will be closed from 3 a.m. Saturday through 6 a.m. Monday, Dec. 13.

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