A father of nine plays dominoes online with his friend who is in prison from his cracked smartphone, while his youngest sons scramble onto a sidewalk on Center street lined with broken glass.
A homeless man who says he got kicked out of the city’s main shelter after a fight scavenges through a trash bin in the alley.
A young woman knocks on a door saying she is looking to get inside her friend’s place to take a shower, even though she says his unit is full of cockroaches.
A casino workers sits on his stoop smoking a cigarette, saying it’s nice to live downtown, close to his work and the bus station, but that at night, drunks, low-level criminals and drug addicts come through.
A few elderly women hurriedly scatter out of old dilapidated, pastel colored homes to walk their dogs.
Friends who are going through rehab and live in units next to each other hug on a creaky porch, with no trespassing signs all around them.
There are no signs though indicating all these residents will soon have to move.
The entire block, old houses, some small, some palatial in their day, as well as several quaint apartment buildings, adorned with flags, and rows of neat mailboxes, will soon be bulldozed away. A massive apartment building is being planned on the entire block between Sixth and Seventh streets and Center and Lake streets. Majestic trees all have red dots on them, seemingly indicating they will soon be cut down.
Reports indicate the new student high rise, high end housing will have a rooftop pool and an indoor golf simulator, continuing the trend of turning the university journey into a more expensive country club experience.
The demolition could begin as soon as this Summer, but most current residents say they haven’t been given official notice. Some say they expect some bonus rent money. The casino worker says his landlord has promised to move him to a nearby location at a similar price.
Most current residents say they are paying between $500 to $600 including utilities, and that it will be very difficult for them to find affordable rentals close to the downtown services they rely on. Some say their landlord doesn’t do much upkeep, but that he’s lenient when payments are late. Others say it’s one of the few blocks, where, even if you have a criminal record and very bad credit, you can still rent.
The father of nine, who struggles to make ends meet with carpentry jobs, says his little house has a great backyard play area, and a basement made up of river rock from the Truckee river. He’s not sure the student housing will have such history. He also know his current family play area will be gone.
Where will these families, residents barely making enough to get by, patients currently in rehab go to live when and if the block does get demolished? What about the old homes and the old trees which will be bulldozed away? Is this our town Reno?