Ex-railroad town, Sparks braces for Tesla, Switch boom
SPARKS, Nev. - The promise of thousands of good-paying jobs at the battery factory Tesla Motors is building in northern Nevada is sparking excitement unseen since the Southern Pacific railroad rolled into the sleepy town of Sparks more than a century ago.
Officials say the new demand for housing and other services has helped jumpstart downtown redevelopment plans sitting idle for two decades as the city's population grew to nearly 100,000.
About $60 million worth of new projects broke ground last month, including the makeover of a shuttered casino that will house boutique shops, restaurants and offices. An old hotel is being turned into loft apartments.
Sparks Mayor Geno Martini says it's a chance to get out from under the shadow of Reno.