Making a Splash in Carlin

New City Manager Richard Braithwaite Spearheads Splash Pad Project

By Dianna Troyer

Richard discusses projects during a recent city council meeting. Photo courtesy of City of Carlin

Launching an internet job search, Richard Braithwaite found an intriguing opening. Carlin, a small town in northern Nevada, needed a city manager to oversee projects and develop the town’s infrastructure.

“Although I had no experience in city administration, I have a long track record of taking projects from the drawing board to reality,” Richard says.

He had 35 years of experience in real estate development and commercial banking and worked with community leaders in cities and towns. In Nevada, he worked on commercial development in nearby Elko and Spring Creek.

“I was familiar with the area and told myself to at least apply,” he says.

Richard Braithwaite, Carlin’s new city manager, is applying for grants and other funding to build a splash pad in the city park. Photo courtesy of the City of Carlin

At the time, he and his wife, Roslyn, were living in Tucson, Arizona, where high-interest rates and increased costs of labor and building materials had stymied construction projects.

“I was ready for a change in career, and my wife and I enjoy living in rural America,” he says. “A small town appealed to us. We both enjoy hiking, watching wildlife, the outdoors, fishing, hunting, and spending time with our grandchildren.”

When he was hired in November, local residents told him about community projects they hoped could be built.

“People said they have been envisioning a splash pad being built at the city park,” he says.

The splash pad is currently designed into 2 pads, each 1,000 square feet, which will replace the tennis courts that are not used that often. 1 pad will be for children, while the others will be for teens and adults.

“It will be one of a kind and help make Carlin a regional summer recreation destination,” Richard says.

Carlin is already a destination at Halloween with its famous Spook Alley. At Christmas, its Sugar Plum Square parade, lighting display, and festivities attract holiday celebrants of all ages.

The project, estimated to cost $1 million, will be tentatively complete by late August. The funding for the splash pad will come from the city of Carlin and multiple grants and donations.

A series of summer concerts in Elko is being planned to raise money. A schedule will be posted on the city’s website and Facebook pages.

“The town is excited for this project,” says Ellen Meshefski, chairperson of the Carlin Parks and Recreation Board.

Last spring and summer, residents raised $12,000 for the project by selling snow cones and ice cream.

Rain Deck, a splash pad project and design company, shares concepts for Carlin’s future splash pad. Residents have joined efforts to fundraise for this project, which is planned for completion in late summer. Photo courtesy of Rain Deck

“Some local businesses donated to help make our goal of $10,000,” she says. “We wanted to show the Elko County Realtors that we appreciate them for choosing our splash pad as their big fundraiser of the year. They raised more than $58,000 for the pad.”

Ben Cortez, president of the Elko County Realtors, says the organization’s Good Neighbor Committee talked about several possible beneficiaries and chose Carlin’s splash pad project. Members vote anonymously for a project.

After the splash pads are operating, Richard says, “We’ll focus on our next projects—improving water and sewer infrastructure. New housing is needed, too.”

Richard says he is impressed with residents who are committed to their town’s future and are proud of their diversified economic heritage.

“Carlin’s economy initially was dependent on the railroad,” he says. “After that diminished, gold mining replaced it. People are proud of their local history. Whatever we do in the future, we want to keep that in mind and honor local heritage.”