The Lincoln County Regional Development Authority (LCRDA) met Aug. 19.

After the previous meeting’s minutes were approved, Jeff Fontaine referred to the Aug. 13 financial report in the board packet and noted it was the first report for the new fiscal year and includes the amendments approved in the budget. A motion was unanimously passed to approve the Aug. 13 financial report and invoices.

Next, Joe Lednicky introduced Lucas Thomas and Marlene Rebori who have been working on the Nevada Economic Assessment Project (NEAP) Socioeconomic Baseline Report for Lincoln County. Lednicky said they want to make sure the data is accurate and complete. He noted the data will eventually be digitized. He acknowledged Buddy Borden with the Cooperative Extension and thanked the BLM and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for their financial support for the project.

Chairman Dave Hurd asked about projections from mountain biking, and Lednicky said they used information from the International Mountain Biking Association. He said there are currently five sections in the report and they want two more sections added; county assessments and outdoor recreation. He said they will work with the BLM and USFS to develop indicators to evaluate outdoor recreation.

Rebori said the community assets information is not readily available since it’s internal and she wants to work with counties to develop community assets and conduct another workshop in Lincoln County. It was decided that mid-October would be a good time to organize a community asset workshop and that there might need to be one in Alamo and another in Caliente.

Kelly Clark with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Carson City office then introduced herself and said she has been working with the Lincoln County Authority of Tourism (LCAT) for the past six months. She showed a PowerPoint presentation on the USDA programs including the Rural Utility Service, Rural Housing Service and Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Clark said the mountain biking economic study was funded by a USDA Rural Development Business Grant (RDBG). She asked the board about the quality of local broadband and requested input on what is important to the community. There was discussion about large events affecting local broadband service including phone and texts. Also discussed was the possible need for a hub and additional community conversations with Lincoln County Telephone.

After Clark’s presentation, Fontaine said he has been working with the owner of a food processing operation who is interested in moving from overseas to a rural western community, depending on availability of incentives. A small community in another state has a RDBG and is willing to construct a building to lease the company with an option to purchase after 10 years. Fontaine checked with the Nevada USDA office and learned grants can be used to construct or buy a building but the amount available for all of Nevada is only $135,000. There was discussion about possible locations and the need to work with the owners of vacant buildings about lease and purchase options.

Next, Fontaine noted the application deadlines for Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), Recreational Trails Program Grants and Nevada Off-Highway Vehicle Program Grants are in the next couple of months. Recreational Trails Program preapplications are due by Aug. 23. Fontaine noted that since LCRDA is currently working on projects funded by OHV and Recreational Trails Programs grants he recommended not applying for grants for next year. He also noted that the City of Caliente is no longer a designated low to moderate income (LMI) community and is therefore not eligible for CDBG funds for next year unless the city conducts a survey to counter the designation. Fontaine said it appears Pioche is now an LMI community and county commissioners will be considering projects for funding. A motion was unanimously passed not to apply for grants next year.

Then Fontaine updated the board on the teleconference meeting he and Stephen Clarke, of QuanVerge, had with the State BLM Contracting Officer. He reported it was a very productive meeting and everyone seemed to gain a much clearer understanding of the BLM’s stewardship process. He also said he will join Clarke and Jeremy Drew, of RCI, Inc., in a meeting to review the Stewardship Contracting Manual provided to them by the contracting officer.

Next, Hurd referred to a report prepared by LCAT President Marcia Hurd. He said Marcia Hurd wanted to thank those who are donating to the upcoming OHV summit and mountain bike trails efforts. Vice President Sherry Pattinson discussed the soft opening of the mountain bike trails and said local eateries have been contacted about assisting with food for up to 200 people in an event billed as “A Taste of Lincoln County.” She also discussed the online store and the OHV Summit which will be held in Caliente in late October. There was discussion about possible conflicts with the Storm Area 51 event and potential impacts on the opening of the mountain bike trails.

Chairman Hurd handed out map of Vista Ranches and said his understanding was that all but nine of 35 lots have been sold. In response to a question from Chairman Hurd about the Caliente to Kershaw-Ryan State Park multi-use path, Fontaine said he spoke to the Nevada Department of Transportation and they are still reviewing public comments and considering recommendations. Also, in response to a question from Chairman Hurd, Fontaine said the Board of Lincoln County Commissioners deferred the appointment of a representative to fill the vacancy on the LCRDA Board to the next meeting.

The next LCRDA meeting will be a teleconference on Sept. 16.