After I retired, my wife, Amy Garcia, and I wanted to leave the increasingly urbanized Sonoma County, California, area with our newly adopted infant, Maida.
Fortunately, we ended up in the hands of a Realtor who knew Boulder City well and, listening to our wish list, brought us down here to a town we had never heard of. We haven’t even thought about leaving in the 15 years since.
This column will give me the chance to extol the wonders, and gripe about the occasional shortcomings, of Boulder City from the sideline viewpoint of someone with no connection to city government, any business or even the school system, with our daughter leaving a public school in a few weeks.
The major red-state/blue-state political divide in town is the growth/no growth issue that appears in so many guises. As a career businessman, I understand the critical need for our retailers to bring in out-of-town money. And as a resident retiree, I can appreciate the view of those who say, “We don’t need more out-of-town people crowding up the streets.”
There are many facets to this gem, and I will surely talk about some of those. But in this opening offering, I want to talk about one element of Boulder City government that I believe to be exceptional.
The Parks and Recreation Department is staffed by some public-spirited people, under the direction of Roger Hall, who oversee an amazing calendar of events. It is quite evident that it is their strategy to make it easy for promoters to utilize Bicentennial and Wilbur Square parks to lure visitors to enjoy a day or a weekend in our bucolic village.
I’m told that Art in the Park, the first weekend in October, brings in 100,000 visitors to this town of 15,000. You do the math. That is a boon to many businesses, a boost to our reputation in the metro area, a fun way for locals to enjoy the weekend and one big pain for those who live a few blocks from there and can’t park on the street in front of their own home.
I came to appreciate this over recent years when, as an officer of the Sons of Norway, I was put in charge of creating a street celebration to honor Norway’s Constitution Day, known as Syttende Mai (May 17). Roger, Pam (Hickey) and others made it so easy for a newbie to get over the hurdles and put on a successful event for a couple of hundred folks.
This May 17, in just two weeks, we will hold our third iteration, grown large by the fact that the big Las Vegas Viking lodge and a group of area Norwegian expats have joined hands with us to put on the show, complete with a full-sized replica Viking ship. It’s free. Come join them around 5 p.m. I’ll be the tall old dude who acts like he doesn’t know what he’s supposed to be doing.
Dave Nelson retired to Boulder City in 2003 after a career with the FICO score company. He is vice president and newsletter editor for the local Sons of Norway.