Recent address changes in Nevada have been difficult for residents

Marlys Barker
Recent address changes in Nevada have been difficult for residents

When asked if there have been any complaints from Nevada residents who have been forced to have their addresses changed this year, city zoning official Shawn Cole takes a deep breath and is very honest, “Oh yeah.”

Cole said there’ve been a lot of questions and some concerns, and he understands it. “It comes as a surprise to them. They get a letter that says you’re going to have to change your address and they’ve had that address forever … this upsets people and I understand that,” he said.

It isn’t the city that mandated the 100-plus address changes in Nevada, but it is the city that must carry out most of the work dealing with it.

Earlier this year, the address change was announced as Story County E911 database coordinator, Connie Hambly, working with Story County GIS Coordinator Matt Boeck, said there were address problem areas in Story County that had to be fixed so the new NG9-1-1 system could work. Hambly said, “GIS will be the standard for public safety in the future. The NG9-1-1 system relies on GIS data for both call-routing and location validation, replacing traditional tabular Master Street Address Guides.”

As it explained by Cole, the new 9-1-1 system will work off a GIS grid, and not all of Nevada’s addresses fit that specific location grid.

Cole and City Police Chief Ricardo Martinez have worked with the county officials to take a comprehensive look at all the Nevada addresses, making sure they will align correctly with the grid. “I do not want any delays in response because we cannot locate the address,” Martinez said.

Cole said so far, a little over 100 addresses in Nevada have had to be changed, and there could be more. “How many more will depend on what the county finds,” he said. “This is an ongoing process until the first part of the coming year.”

Nevada resident Kevin Hartz is one of the residents affected by the change. Hartz lives at what used to be 624 19th St., now 624 18th St. Place, on the east edge of Nevada. Hartz shares a letter he received from the city back on July 15 of this year, when he first realized he’d have to change his address. It upset him to think he’d have to change his address, because “there are no houses on 19th Street and there never will be,” he said. Hartz is not the only person to verbalize concerns from his street, a little frontage area to 19th Street, just south of the high school softball field.

Cole said the city has received several complaints from that area, and that doesn’t surprise him. “It’s a neighborhood where people see each other and talk to each other and this has affected all of them, and it’s understandable. We’re not questioning their response. We appreciate the fact that they’ve been inconvenienced and they’re not happy about this.

Hartz said his family had to, of course, notify all the billing institutions and people they know about the change. Then there’s been the matter that not everyone is recognizing the change in their system, and so they can’t change it. Part of the problem with that, Hartz indicated, was that until just a week or so ago, the sign on his street still said “19th Street.”

“I am more upset that they didn’t have the signs before they had us change our address,” Hartz said. “Also, the national database has not been changed, so some places can’t change the address yet.” Hartz said he has a medical condition and receives medical supplies he needs via mail. He’s not received about half the things he should have after the address change.

He’s not the only person having those problems. Gladys Goff, who called into the Journal office about the address of her newspaper, said she had a delivery person from Des Moines recently who had no idea where to find her with something she’d ordered, due to her new address and the lack of a corresponding street sign.

Cole said the street department is starting to get the signs changed. He explains that the city had a time line given to them to change the addresses by the county and state. They ordered the signs from the Iowa prison system as soon as they knew which 30-40 had to be done. Unlike regular traffic signs, street signs are specialized because of the specific names on them, and they have to be made individually. “So we don’t get the quick turnaround time,” he said. The first ones just started coming in during the past two weeks. And they are being put up as they arrive.

“We appreciate the fact that residents have been inconvenienced and they’re not happy about this. And we’re sorry we haven’t been able to change the signs in as timely a fashion as we would like,” Cole said.

In addition to 19th Street, other streets in town affected by the address changes include: West Fourth Street becoming West Third Street; the creation of a West M Avenue; the addition of more West N addresses than there were previously; and clarifications of South Sixth Street, South 11th Street and South 19th Street — “we’ve clarified that some addresses now need south on them,” Cole said, explaining that it’s because of where these residences fall on the grid. “There are now, within the grid system, exact points that clarify certain addresses as having to be east, west, north and south. It was always there, but we haven’t had to have this kind of pinpoint accuracy.”

At this time, the city is working on the process of address changes in multi-family dwellings and apartments, and of looking at main street addresses. “Ric (director of public safey) and Ray (Reynolds, director of Fire and EMS) are helping with the process. Numbering will change on a lot of these (apartment) units and the numbers will make it easier for responders to find those needing assistance,” Cole said.

Nevada Postmaster Jim Kilmer stated in a previous release about the address changes that he appreciated being included in the initial planning for the new 9-1-1 system. “We will do what is necessary to insure that people continue to receive their mail without delay. In the long run, these changes will be beneficial to everyone trying to locate an address; more so in eliminating confusion for police, fire and rescue personnel trying to do important work.”