As Carolyn Goodman prepares to take over Mayor Oscar Goodman’s golden gavel July 6, transforming the face of the City Council, so too will change the image of Las Vegas.
Fare thee well, martini days. After a 12-year reign, the Mob Lawyer has left the building.
This change in leadership, which includes Ward 3’s newly elected Bob Coffin, will hurdle economic challenges along the way — including filling an estimated $4.1 million budget gap.
The city has eliminated hundreds of jobs, switched to a four-day work week at City Hall and is in the process of working with financially strapped North Las Vegas to consolidate or share certain services, such as Safekey before- and after-school programs, purchasing and detention support services including laundry.
It is unknown what the changing of leadership means for Las Vegas or what impact this City Council might have on the community.
Homelessness still plagues the downtown area whether city officials secretly open parks or not. People beg for change on Martin Luther King Boulevard at almost every intersection and highway ramp from West Charleston Boulevard to West Washington Avenue, around the corner from the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, 480 W. Bonanza Road.
Broken sidewalks line most of the city’s older neighborhoods, forcing mothers with baby strollers and the elderly in wheelchairs close to traffic. Foreclosures dot these same neighborhoods and have caused squatting issues in certain areas.
Businesses on the Main Street corridor, affected by last year’s substation explosion, continue to struggle.
Many downtown redevelopment projects are in the works. Zappos is slated to take over the old City Hall, 400 Stewart Ave., once the new City Hall, between First and Main streets and Lewis and Clark avenues, is complete in 2012. Construction is under way for Symphony Park projects, including The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Once the center is finished it will feature music, theater and dance companies from throughout the world while giving the Las Vegas Philharmonic and the Nevada Ballet Theatre a place to call home. More developments in that area planned include The Charlie Palmer, a 400-suite and room boutique hotel, and plans to develop multiple city blocks featuring condominiums, live-work units and town homes, among other projects.
The Arts District continues to gain attention from city officials and is becoming an economic hub, attracting business with its newly opened neighborhood lounges: Artifice Bar & Lounge, 1025A First St., Bar @ The Arts Factory, 107 E. Charleston Blvd., and Lady Silvia, 900 Las Vegas Blvd. South. The district’s First Friday events have gained popularity combining art, live music, food and drinks that cater to locals while giving veteran and emerging artists a platform to expose their work.
The Entertainment District on East Fremont Street has attracted business with Emergency Arts, a collection of galleries, boutiques and other shops anchored by a coffee shop, The Beat, 520 E. Fremont St. Just down the road, arcade bar Insert Coin(s), 512 Fremont St., offers drinks and video games. The developing area has given locals a place to hang out while encouraging tourists from the Fremont Street Experience canopy to venture fa rther down the corridor. Neonopolis is still trying to attract tenants to fill the near-empty $100 million entertainment and retail complex located a stone’s throw from the Fremont Street Experience.
Voter turnout on Election Day hovered around 19 percent valleywide. In Las Vegas it was about 26 percent. Goodman garnered 61 percent of the vote to current Clark County Commissioner Chris Giuchigliani’s 39 percent, according to numbers from the county’s election department.
Once the politicking was done, the two candidates for Las Vegas mayor spent more than $2.3 million according to the most recent campaign reports — making it one of the most expensive mayoral contests the city has seen. Goodman raised $1,448,095 and spent $1,269,603. Giunchigliani raised $1,195,356 and spent $1,097,599. About $425,000 was transferred from Giunchigliani’s County Commission campaign fund.
The candidates focused on downtown redevelopment, jobs and business recruitment.
In the Ward 3 race, Coffin, who received 52 percent of the vote, raised $267,000. He spent $211,487. Martinez, who received 48 percent of the vote, garnered about $168,000, spending $134,692 as of the most recent reporting period.
Contact Downtown and North Las Vegas View reporter Kristi Jourdan at email@example.com or 383-0492.