Collaborative community improvement effort launched in Las Vegas

Community leaders think Las Vegas can do better.

Southern Nevada Strong, a collaboration of community leaders, elected officials and businesses, launched Friday and aims to define and solve major community issues.

“Creating an attractive community is vital to economic development,” said Stephanie Garcia-Vause, project director for Southern Nevada Strong.

The project’s goals are to make Southern Nevada economically successful, improve job opportunities, diversify the economy, revitalize struggling neighborhoods, fix transportation problems and improve quality of life.

Garcia-Vause said the city needs to make itself more attractive to people and businesses looking to relocate.

“Now, people are choosing where to live first and then finding a job,” she said.

The project could have positive effects on the quality of life for established residents.

Jeremy Aguero, principal analyst with Applied Analysis, said 22 percent of adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and unemployment is about 10 percent — and much higher when also counting those who are underemployed or who have given up the search.

“A third of all households make less than $35,000 annually,” he said. “Nearly 57 percent of K-12 students qualify for free or reduced lunch.”

Cass Palmer, president of United Way of Southern Nevada, said fixing public transportation is key and could allow families to forgo the cost of owning a car.

“The money you’d spend on that could go toward your quality of life,” he said.

The project, funded by a $3.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, will rely on research from six expert task groups that will evaluate community needs. A year of research will be followed by two years of community outreach and initiative implementation.

The Southern Nevada Regional Planning Coalition, which launched Southern Nevada Strong, combines input from the cities of Henderson, Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Boulder City, Clark County, the Regional Transportation Commission, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas , the Southern Nevada Regional Housing Authority, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, Clark County School District, the Southern Nevada Health District and the Conservation District of Southern Nevada.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at mlyle@viewnews.com or 702-387-5201.


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