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City finds solution for unfinished Huckleberry Park

Residents were left looking at an unfinished park in the Providence master-planned community in the northwest valley after the developer, Cliff’s Edge, dropped the project nearly two years ago.

Sudden project halts aren’t uncommon in the industry, CCMC (Community Association Management) community manager for Providence Chris DeLong said. Huckleberry plans were halted when homebuilding stopped amid the recession, from about 2008-10.

“Ward 6 was hit the hardest because of the recession,” Las Vegas City Councilman Steven Ross said. “The whole neighborhood just stopped. Sidewalks and street lights weren’t done. It was pretty bad for a while.”

Huckleberry Park, which is on a 15-acre parcel, was planned to have a splash pad and several other amenities, DeLong said. The developer, which couldn’t be reached for comment built about half of the northwest valley park, which includes a large grass area, a swing set, a basketball court and a dog park. The rest remains desert.

When the developer left the park, which is owned by the Bureau of Land Management and leased to the city of Las Vegas, city officials looked to the Providence Master Homeowners Association to figure out what to do with the undeveloped land. Under their agreement, the HOA would be responsible for maintaining the park once it was complete, DeLong said.

“At first they wanted us to take care of the undeveloped area, which was a question just because it hadn’t been completed,” DeLong said. “There became a question of liability.”

The HOA was expected to pay about $400,000 annually to maintain the park, DeLong said. The association sat down with the developer to discuss options.

“(We) had a few conversations, but they weren’t really productive,” DeLong said. “They were just done. We thought, we could just throw rocks or roll up our sleeves and come up with a tangible solution.”

In addition to being worried about funds to finish the park, the HOA was concerned about residents, who had paid for part of the park when they purchased their homes in the area with a residential tax (36 cents per square foot), DeLong said. When the community was built in 2006, residents were promised that two large parks (not including parks within neighborhoods) would be built.

The HOA board began meeting with city officials, including Ross, and the developer to figure out a solution, DeLong said.

The Las Vegas City Council on May 17 unanimously approved providing $1.9 million for the park to be completed, Ross said. The city will provide the initial funds, and when more homes are purchased (about 500, according to DeLong), the residential tax will be placed into the capital involvement plan funding account, Ross said. The Providence HOA will be responsible for maintaining the park.

“We’re fronting them the money to do that because there are still more houses to be built in Providence,” Ross said.

The next steps for Providence’s HOA are for the board to put together a committee to draft the plan for the park, then to hire a contractor, DeLong said. He said the association hopes to start construction by late summer and to be finished by April.

When Philip Poulos, who has lived in the community for nearly a decade, learned that news, he responded, “Great!” He said he visits the park twice a day to walk his dogs.

“I just thought there was a school coming here,” he said.

As of May 17, a sign in the desert area of the park said a middle school would be built near the land. There haven’t been talks about that happening yet, Providence HOA board President Walt Dittrich said.

Contact Kailyn Brown at kbrown@viewnews.com or 702-387-5233. Follow @kailynhype on Twitter.

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