The Lincoln County Regional Development Authority (LCRDA) held a teleconference Sept. 21.
After last meeting’s minutes were approved, Executive Director Jeff Fontaine discussed the financial report for Sept. 16. Invoices totaled $8,240.75. The Governor’s Office of Economic Development contract was reduced from $55,000 to $50,050 as a result of budget reductions enacted during the special legislative session this summer.
Next, Dr. Don Deever provided an overview of the River Ranch Vineyard in Hiko. He has been working with owner Betsy Whipple to secure technical assistance for her from the University of Nevada Extension. Deever helped Whipple obtain funding from the Nevada Department of Agriculture for equipment. Whipple will now need to get a liquor license from the county. Deever expects she will have product to sell next year. He also said Whipple has been getting help from Jack Sanders, who owns a winery in Pahrump.
Commissioner Varlin Higbee noted that Mary Kerner with the Rural Nevada Development Corporation recently presented information to the Board of Lincoln County Commissioners about the availability of small business loans.
Fontaine then provided an overview of Two Pigs Custom Meats in Alamo, who are interested in relocating to the Alamo Industrial Park in order to expand their operation. He gave a brief history on the Alamo Industrial Park, noting it lacks sufficient water, wastewater and power for development. The water service connection for Two Pigs Custom Meats is estimated to cost $10,000 and the power connection is estimated to cost $50,000.
Fontaine said the company had a recent teleconference with a representative of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) about the possibility of applying for a Rural Business Development Grant for water and power. The representative confirmed the project would be eligible for a grant and added that the application would receive bonus points if submitted by Lincoln County.
Fontaine then introduced Mike Ray of Two Pigs Custom Meats. Ray provided an overview of his current operation and its plans for relocating to the Industrial Park and expanding. He said he had visited Wolf Pack Meats at UNR, and a USDA-inspected meat processing facility in Fallon. Jay Schofield suggested that he and Ray get together to discuss the project further.
Deever said this would be the first post-COVID meat harvesting and processing facility, which is a major selling point with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and could open the doors for research and funding. Dr. Deever also said he has seen Two Pigs Custom Meats’ existing processing operation and supports what the company is doing for Lincoln County and its producers.
A motion was passed to request that Lincoln County apply for a USDA Rural Business Development Grant to construct improvements at the Industrial Park.
Moving on in the agenda, Fontaine said Colin Robertson, administrator of the Nevada Division of Outdoor Recreation, is very interested in Lincoln County and is assisting the Lincoln County Authority on Tourism (LCAT) and others on increasing outdoor recreation opportunities. He said Robertson set up a virtual meeting with Senator Catherine Cortez-Masto for himself and Christine Harrington with the Caliente Area Mountain Biking Association to discuss outdoor recreation opportunities in Lincoln County. Fontaine referred to the PowerPoint presentation Robertson gave to the Legislative Committee on Public Lands and said he will invite him to a future LCRDA Board meeting.
Marcia Hurd, president of LCAT, provided a written update on LCAT’s activities.
In response to Chairman David Hurd’s questions about the status of trail maps and their installation, Fontaine said the local map for Caliente is finished and suggested that an item be put on the agenda for the next meeting to provide a grant to LCAT to install maps and updated information.
Also in response to a question from Hurd, Fontaine said Quikrete is planning to apply for a special-use permit from the Planning Commission for a mining operation near the Kane Springs Road.
Fontaine then gave an update on the Horsethief Mine near Pioche and said they recently completed additional results from their drilling program.
Hurd said the Midway Motel may have been sold and suggested LCRDA might be able to help the new owners.
Fontaine gave brief updates on the U.S. Highway 93 Nevada Department of Transportation’s (NDOT) state rail plan and maintenance project in Lincoln County. He also said he had participated in a Zoom meeting with Senator Jacky Rosen, Commissioner Bevan Lister and John Christian on broadband issues in Lincoln County.
Deever said he discovered that scientists believe a large extraterrestrial event, possibly an asteroid, occurred in Pahranagat Valley millions of years ago and suggested producers there could market their products to thousands of people who travel US93 to visit State Route 375 and extraterrestrial sites.
Councilman George Rowe said the Baptist Church in Caliente and Caliente Volunteer Fire Department are interested in adding panels to the NDOT Community signs. Fontaine said he would look into their request.
The next meeting will be held in person at the Caliente Depot Nov. 9.