Take a drive east from Reno on “America’s loneliest highway,” and you’ll eventually find your way to Ely, Nevada.
Ely is the county seat of White Pine County, with a population of roughly 4,000.
The economy is largely dependent on mining, and the state prison located nearby.
Melody VanCamp is the mayor of Ely. She wants a bigger emphasis on bringing in more tourists.
“We are working with every entity to increase our tourism,” she told KNPR's State of Nevada.
The city recently had a tourism expert assess the area and he gave a presentation about ways to draw in more tourists. VanCamp said the presentation gave people lots of ways to improve the community and bring in more tourism dollars.
“We have been aggressively trying to better our community and we have got a buy in from lots of businesses and of course citizens, so we’re excited about that,” she said.
A project by the Nevada Department of Transportation could also help tourism. In 2019, NDOT will start an improvement project for Highway 50, which is the main road for the area. Highway 50 turns Ely's main street.
Mayor VanCamp is hoping to bring better signage for Ely and better way-finding signs for the area with that NDOT project.
Another important economic booster that the mayor is working to bring to the city is better broadband internet connection.
“We are working with the governor’s office on bringing better broadband to our community and all the rurals,” she said.
VanCamp said many people who come to the area to work in the mines expect the same kind of amenities they get in urban areas. She is hoping the improved internet service will boost the city's economy.
Melody VanCamp, mayor, Ely
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