The City of Sparks recently released a new comprehensive plan, a guide to help lead the city’s growth through the year 2030. Through the Ignite Sparks initiative, the city gained feedback through 2,600 residents who expressed their opinions on the city’s priorities for the next 15 years with the result being a plan that integrates seven topics that touch on key elements related to Sparks. The Comprehensive Plan serves as a “big picture” policy that provides direction for the city council as well as meets the State of Nevada’s requirements for the City approving a certified plan.
Ignite Sparks’ outreach efforts included online surveys to residents and utilizing a team comprised of business entities and community organizations. The result is a vision/roadmap for future planning to include: land uses, an integrated regional roadway network, maintaining city amenities, safety, and supporting the city’s budget.
The plan also introduces 121 goals and policies in growth and sustainability as a prevailing theme throughout all of the city’s departments. It also comes into compliance with Nevada State Statutes and the Truckee Meadows Regional Plan. The updated land use map has taken 61 categories and consolidated them into 20, making administration in permitting easier and added flexibility.
Facts and History About Sparks To Where We Are Today
According to the Plan, the City of Sparks grew about 38 percent from 2000-2010 and an additional four percent from 2010-2015. As of January 2016, Sparks has an area span of 36 square miles and a population of 93,581 residents. Sparks locals enjoy an average of 290 days of sunshine a year and is situated 4,410 feet above sea level.
At the start of the 20th century, there was nothing but ranches and swampland just east of Reno. Meanwhile, Southern Pacific Railroad acquired Central Pacific Railroad and became the primary transportation system of Northern Nevada. It acquired land from Wadsworth to Sparks for employee housing and started shipping employees into the new town. In 1904, the city was officially named Sparks after Nevada governor John Sparks and was soon incorporated as a city a year later.
In the 1950s, economic growth in Reno triggered housing developments in Sparks and in the 1970s warehouses and industrial services started popping up south of the railroad to the Truckee River. In 1984, John Ascuaga’s Nugget was built, Sparks first major high-rise casino. A decade later, entertainment and open-air events came to Victorian Square making it a popular community meeting place for Sparks’ residents. Along with Victorian Square’s growth, Sparks expanded its city limits into the Spanish Springs area where additional housing, shopping centers, and employment opportunities abound. In 1997 when a pit owned by Helm’s Construction flooded, it soon was reinvented into the Sparks Marina with fishing, boating, sailing, and apartments/businesses around it.
Sparks saw an upward trend in generated revenues from 1999-2006 until the Great Recession came. The primarily components of revenue into the City’s general fund plummeted. On record the recession did its most damage through 2009, but Sparks did not see a rise in revenues until 2014. As the City is still recovering, it is trying to plan out its dollars to support Sparks’ continued growth.
“What was most inspiring about the process was the unprecedented outreach the City performed and the subsequent responses and participation from our citizens. More than 2.600 responses allows us to craft a blueprint for our City,” says City of Sparks Public Information Officer Adam Mayberry.
“The digital age in which we live today enabled us to go our citizens, as opposed to them coming to us and attending workshops and public meetings, which often don’t attract an accurate sample,” he added.
To view the whole plan and supporting documents, visit http://ignitesparksnv.com/.