The Black Gravel of Riverwood

Earlier this spring, a construction crew moved in and paved over the site for the Gold Town Casino with black gravel. This was seen as a sign that the long-delayed hotel/casino project was dead, or at least on long-term life support. The black gravel was meant as a permanent type of dust control.

A couple of months ago they did the same thing with the Riverwood construction site. Riverwood was supposed to be a huge shopping center across the street from the Carson Valley Plaza. The idea for building on this side of the highway was tossed around during the 2000s, and at first it was supposed to be home to Carson City’s new auto mall. Later it evolved into a shopping center which had lined up Kohl’s and Circuit City as tenants. Max Baer Jr.’s Jethro’s Casino was supposed to be located at the top of the hill too. Ground was finally broken in 2008. They were working on clearing away the land and flattening out the hill, when one day the bulldozers just stopped.

It’s been a long time since any work was done at Riverwood. The construction ceased about four years ago, and ever since it’s been a sore spot with the neighbors to the east as relentless dust clouds would be whipped up with the slightest breeze. I’ve seen a few water trucks roaming around the land, but dust control is hard because you have to keep on top of it constantly. So, here comes the black gravel. This gravel, probably made out of ground up asphalt from some road project, effectively covers the land and keeps the dust down. It’s also more or less a lid on the coffin of Riverwood. Once they’ve committed to putting this gravel down, they’re admitting that they’re not planning on doing any work here for a long time. These rocks will be tough to clear out if they ever do resume work.

So Riverwood becomes another dead project. Carson City is fairly littered with these now, but the scar of Riverwood is very big and very visible. Kohl’s finally opened in Carson City in the old Mervyn’s building. Circuit City went out of business. Jethro’s Casino is a cursed project that has been in the works for over a decade now, and no closer to being built. And now all the evidence is buried under a thick layer of black gravel.

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