The illustration portrays a celebration by current and past elected officials, dignitaries and Comstock Mining’s key players, John V. Winfield, Corrado De Gasperis and Ron James. There appears to be a signing of a purported proclamation as several folks whoop it with a toast.
Many of the residents of Gold Hill, Silver City, Dayton and Virginia City are justifiable offended by this illustration. It conveys a disdainful message that supports industrial-scale mining as an acceptable use, at the expense of adversely affecting our community life and leveling the Virginia City National Historic Landmark (VCNHL).
In CRA’s view, the sale of the illustration is just another sly promotional effort to dupe the public into financing CMI’s (Comstock Mining, Inc.) public relation machine: the Comstock Foundation for History and Culture. This foundation is principally funded by CMI with proceeds generated from the mining and milling operations within the boarders of the VCNHL and Nevada’s famous Superfund site, the Carson River Mercury Superfund Site (CRMSS). Our towns sit within both. Our land, air, water and communities are under siege.
We have no beef with the historic preservation work that the foundation proposes. But be assured that our towns are proud, prosperous Nevada communities determined to preserve themselves in this uphill battle to hold CMI accountable for its deleterious actions to date. Our communities are snapshots of how communities evolve when extractive industries go bust, as they always do.
Our towns are no longer mining communities and haven’t been mining town for more than three-quarters of a century. With sweat equity, these towns have remade themselves from mining ghost towns into prosperous residential/commercial communities. The local citizens have re-imagined the Comstock. They have tapped into existing talent to unearth a wellspring of community pride and initiative.
To do so, they relied on fifty years of residential zoning, the principal catalyst for this bootstrapping of historically relevant development, wealth creation and private investment. Since the 1960’s, the real historic preservation story has yet to be recognized. The local residents rehabbed, restored or rebuilt most of the historic buildings, turning them into architecturally-unique residences and businesses. Today, Gold Hill and Silver City are a checkerboard of historic buildings and energy efficient homes throughout the Comstock’s hillsides and valleys.
The restoration of the Silver City Community Center was an historic preservation achievement. It is now the center of civic life; a constant reminder of community, can-do spirit. Throughout the rebuilding of the historic schoolhouse, the townspeople worked side-by-side with architects and builders to create a modern public building, while meticulously restoring its 1857 predecessor, the historic Silver City Schoolhouse. Recently CRA paid for the rehab and restoration of two historic structures ready for collapse. Local Comstockers have quietly, without fanfare, preserved the irreplaceable heritage that is the present Comstock.
At the rate things are headed on the Comstock, our population will shrink or be displaced, our land and property values crushed. Recently, a respected MAI appraiser concluded that our land and property values have dripped precipitously, compared to our Lyon County and Storey County neighboring communities.
Our towns will die, those communities that were once splendid, livable communities that made Nevada proud.
CRA challenges the public officials and dignitaries showcased in this illustration to support our vision, goals and objectives:
- Ask our regulators to seek every opportunity to exceed current standards of environmental protection for communities affected by industrial-scale mining. This includes pollution prevention, climate protection, habitat and species protection;
- Lead efforts to craft and reform laws and regulations that provide for more effective policies and greater community benefits;
- Enhance transparency, risk-based action planning, and public engagement and corporate accountability;
- Pursue economic development and redevelopment strategies that encourage sustainable adaptive reuses of existing contaminated properties.
- Place a priority on wealth creating development, non-polluting reuses, emerging renewable energy projects, mixed-use development, open space, parks and recreation.
- Ask all developers to maintain constructive dialogue with stakeholders on matters that affect community standards. The pursuit of development without community buy-in should justify permit denial.