CAL-NEV-ARI – The roads lift dirt, the airstrip is unpaved, and the only store in town has items like milk, beer, veg, and, at half the price for $ 2.50 each, musical cassettes.
After not changing much for years, little Cal-Nev-Ari and her group of highway dwellers face the prospect of something very different for the remote desert town: a startle. of development.
Universal Green Technology, majority owner of Heart of Nature mining company, has purchased just over 550 acres of mostly vacant real estate off US Highway 95, some 70 miles south of Las Vegas, acquiring the most of Cal-Nev-Ari.
The $ 8 million sale, by city co-founder Nancy Kidwell, closed in late July, according to property records.
Heart of Nature supplies the agriculture industry and will not be mining in Cal-Nev-Ari. But he has big plans for a pint-sized community that relies on well water and is heavy on retirees and mobile homes.
Overall, locals have mixed reactions to the possible activity. Residents told the Review-Journal they would welcome more visitors and businesses to the rural unincorporated community, though some are nervous about other possible changes after Kidwell, who is 80 years old and appears to know everyone here has sold their holdings after years of trying. .
“It’s definitely going to change the atmosphere I think about here, and I’m a little nervous, but I can’t wait to see what happens,” said Destiny Hughes, manager of the 10-room Blue Sky Motel.
She indicated that only two rooms are occupied per day, and that some real estate development could help fill the space.
“Honestly, it would help my workload,” she said.
“Always the fear of change”
Heart of Nature president Jerry Tyler, who lives in Henderson, said his group plans to build a 100,000 square foot warehouse that would contain the granulation machines that make its products. The facility would be located across the highway from homes in Cal-Nev-Ari and would not produce foul odors, he said, noting that the treatment involves tree sap and almost smells the baked bread.
He plans to build more restaurants, a bigger hotel and houses for the employees who work in the establishment. His group also wants to pave the airstrip to attract more pilots.
Tyler said in a recent interview that residents’ initial reaction to the sale – reported August 19 by the Review-Journal – was “fear, because there is always a fear of change.”
His group acquired hundreds of acres of land, the airstrip, an RV park and a mobile home park, along with the only motel, convenience store, casino and restaurant in town.
“Everyone here was worried because they are used to Nancy,” he said.
But his group wants to make Cal-Nev-Ari “a better place for everyone,” won’t replace workers here with a new team and will keep and improve all businesses, he said.
Tyler said he hands out his business card and asks people to call if they think he’s making anything worse and the locals are “starting to heat up with us.”
“The people I meet have been great,” he said. “I just haven’t had the chance to meet everyone yet. “
Convenience store clerk Robin Williford, who lives in the RV park, thinks most people here don’t know what’s going to happen now that the Kidwell sale has taken place, and she’s heard that some people are afraid of losing their job.
But she said she thinks the owners’ plans are “great” as the activity could draw more people and attention to the city.
“I don’t think a lot of people know we’re really here,” Williford said.
Bartender Connie Meyerring said she not only worked for the town matriarch but also rented a house from her and worried about her job and her home.
Still, she believes if Heart of Nature’s business sparks more activity, it could be a good thing.
“If it brings business to the community, that’s great,” Meyerring said.
Flight in the desert
Milne “CC” Pocock, a native of South Africa who lives in Cal-Nev-Ari, runs a flight training school here called Bush Air, which specializes in backcountry flying. He has three Cessna planes on his property, which like many other homes here is right across from the airstrip.
He said the sale could be “a good thing,” adding that the new owners seemed very motivated to modernize the city. Pocock also pointed to Cal-Nev-Ari’s aviation roots and hopes buyers “build this and promote that.”
“The pilots don’t even know this city,” he said.
But he worries about his own future if the airstrip – formerly known as Kidwell Airport, despite being an airport with no terminals, no control tower, or even a fence. around – is paved.
Its business relies on taking off and landing on unpaved surfaces, and Cal-Nev-Ari is “perfect” for it, as it offers uncontrolled airspace and vast expanses of open desert nearby.
If the airstrip is paved, he said, “I won’t be able to run my business here anymore.
“I should move out,” Pocock said.
Tyler said it would take “a while” before the airstrip was paved, a endeavor that would require a lot of permits, funding and engineering.
But his group wants more types of planes to land here as part of their plans to increase the population and add more services such as grocery stores and supply stores.
“We think the airport can really help with that,” Tyler said.
Kidwell and her late husband Everette “Slim” Kidwell founded Cal-Nev-Ari in the mid-1960s, after noticing his then-abandoned airstrip while flying overhead.
They acquired over 600 acres from the federal government, named the city after its home state and the two nearby, and, as the Los Angeles Times reported, put up a sign that read: “Cal- Nev-Ari, Population: 4. Watch us grow.
The other two residents were their cat and their dog.
In 2010, 244 people lived in Cal-Nev-Ari, according to the US Census Bureau.
According to reports, Slim, a flight instructor, was 34 years older than Nancy and died in 1983. A decade later, she married Verne “Ace” Kidwell, Slim’s son from a previous marriage, who had 14 years older than Nancy and who died in 2011.
The father and son were buried in a small fenced lot in Cal-Nev-Ari, with a space between them for another.
“There is a lot of room for me,” Kidwell said.
Tyler said Universal Green Technology was one of his clients before acquiring a controlling stake in Heart of Nature, and the people behind the business knew he wanted to set up transformational operations in Nevada.
Heart of Nature extracts and crushes minerals outside of Tonopah and trucks them to Bakersfield, California for processing. Under California law, Tyler said, the company can transport up to 25 tonnes of cargo across the state without a special permit, but in Nevada it can transport up to 43 tonnes.
Universal Green heard about Cal-Nev-Ari, wanted to buy Kidwell real estate, and chose Tyler to come over to help ‘digest’ the purchase and do some planning because he lives closest, a- he declared.
Prior to the purchase, Tyler said, he had driven by Cal-Nev-Ari and thought it was “pretty cool.” He also thinks he may have stopped for the same reason as other travelers who stumble upon a town spot in the middle of the desert.
“Maybe I stopped here to use the restroom or something,” he said.