Residents in some older Las Vegas neighborhoods can expect to see sidewalk improvements thanks to an infusion of federal money.
The Las Vegas City Council recently approved directing more than $2.2 million from the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grant program to sidewalks in older neighborhoods in and around downtown.
“We can use those funds for public services; we can also use those funds for community improvements,” said Bill Arent, the city’s economic development and redevelopment executive. “We’re electing to use some of our annual allocation from HUD for this project.”
According to a map of the areas proposed for improvements, sidewalk upgrades will occur in Ward 3, represented by Councilman Bob Coffin and Ward 5, represented by Councilman Ricki Barlow.
The improvement zone in Ward 3 is bounded by Charleston Boulevard in the south, Las Vegas Boulevard in the west, U.S. Highway 95 in the north and Bruce Street in the east.
The improvement area in Ward 5 is bounded by Bonanza Road in the south, Martin Luther King Boulevard in the west, Owens Avenue in the north and Interstate 15 in the east.
“We’ve been working very closely with public works in identifying areas within the city, primarily in the older neighborhoods in downtown or surrounding downtown, where sidewalks are either lacking, deficient or in need of repair,” Arent told the council.
Arent said the money will help pay to complete unfinished sidewalks, repair damage and upgrade sidewalks that aren’t compliant with standards covered by the Americans With Disabilities Act, which would make them easier for disabled people to navigate.
While the improvements might be welcome in Wards 3 and 5, Ward 1 Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, who represents an area of the city that also includes older neighborhoods, said the improvements shouldn’t be limited to two regions.
Tarkanian pressed Arent for answers on why Ward 1 wasn’t included despite having areas that qualify for HUD money, which requires 51 percent of people to earn less than 80 percent of the median income.
“In Ward 1, we are the only older district that hasn’t been getting these … funds,” Tarkanian said. “We do have areas that qualify.”
Although Arent said the city plans to expand the program to cover more areas, he could not promise improvements specific to Ward 1, which is mostly west of Buffalo Drive, east of I-15, north of Sahara Avenue and south of U.S. 95.
“I don’t have an answer today if there is going to be a lot of additional area in Ward 1,” Arent said.
Contact reporter Benjamin Spillman at bspillman@
reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.