Public input sought on revitalization plans for four Southern Nevada neighborhoods

An organization developing a regional planning project is going to the public for comments on plans that would connect housing, transportation and jobs leading to the revitalization of four Southern Nevada neighborhoods.

Southern Nevada Strong, which received a $3.5 million Department of Housing and Urban Development grant two years ago, is entering its third and final phase of plan development after the Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition on Tuesday approved the organization’s recommendation for four “opportunity sites.” The organization had a kickoff summit Wednesday with planning experts and leaders from other states discussing their success stories in other cities.

Opportunity sites are neighborhoods targeted for redevelopment with a mix of non-traditional improvements in housing, office and workplace sites and transportation infrastructure to link them. Among the non-traditional elements urban planners have embraced are mixed-use structures in which a public building, such as a library, could be on the ground floor of the structure with single-family residences on upper floors.

Southern Nevada Strong’s four opportunity sites are:

— the Maryland Parkway corridor from downtown Las Vegas to UNLV.

— Boulder Highway at Gibson Road in Henderson.

— downtown North Las Vegas between Interstate 15 and Civic Center Drive and between Owens and Carey avenues.

— and the Las Vegas Medical District, between Martin Luther King and Rancho Drive and between Alta Drive and Charleston Boulevard.

At Wednesday’s three-hour summit meeting, attended by about 200 people, Stephanie Garcia-Vause, Southern Nevada Strong’s project director and the head of the city of Henderson’s Community Development & Services Department, explained that over the next three months, the community would be invited to comment on the style of community development the organization envisions and the types of transportation elements that would best serve the neighborhood.

The organization already has received more than 5,000 comments about the plan, but Garcia-Vause wants even more so that planners can refine changes before developing a final version next fall. SNS will do that by making presentations around the community and offering the use of portable kiosks that present easy-to-use visual preference surveys. Rather than explain conceptual plans, the survey presents photographic images of examples of the type of development representative of the concept. It then asks survey subjects whether they like it, don’t like it or are neutral to it.

Under housing options, for example, the survey shows examples of single-family homes, row townhomes, two-story live-and-work developments and three- and four-story mixed-use developments. The surveys incorporate views of job centers, transportation, parks and community facilities and streetscapes in addition to housing. People interested in taking the survey can also take it online at southernnevadastrong/metroquest.com.

Summit speakers included Jonas Peterson, chief operating officer of the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance, which assists in recruitment of new companies to Southern Nevada; Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, who explained how his city has used the development of a light-rail transportation system to create economic development zones throughout that city; and Tom Capp, chief operating officer of Gorman & Co., a developer that has used public-private partnerships in other cities to enhance neighborhoods.

Elected officials from the county and local municipalities discussed how the regional plan could be used to enhance the opportunity sites located in their districts. Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani represents the Maryland Parkway corridor, Henderson Councilman John Marz represents to Boulder Highway zone, North Las Vegas Councilman Isaac Barron is with the downtown North Las Vegas area and Las Vegas Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian overseeing the medical district.

Contact reporter Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.