The Deer Springs district of North Las Vegas may soon see a change in its commercial appeal.
The Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada put out a call for projects last year offering a competitive grant to help further economic development, according to Johanna Murphy, the city’s principal planner. North Las Vegas received the grant, which will pay for the “livable center” study.
Livable centers are vibrant walkable communities that offer increased mobility options, encourage healthy lifestyles and provide improved access to jobs and services, according to RTC’s website.
“The livable centers concept is an economic redevelopment strategy that has been used for the past 15 to 20 years in the Houston area and in Atlanta,” Murphy said.
Most of the construction will be new, according to Murphy, who added that much of the Deer Springs district is undeveloped. The work is aimed at bringing jobs and entertainment options back into the area. A 150-acre span near the veterans hospital and East Deer Springs Way will be designated as a job creation zone.
Zakcq Lokrem, director of planning with Asakura Robinson, the planning and landscape architecture firm hired to help with the project, presented economic development plans to about 20 residents Jan. 17 at the Skyview YMCA.
Attendee Al Greer said he has lived in the North Las Vegas neighborhood since 1992.
“At one point, we had commercial businesses come in over on North Fifth,” Greer said, “but during the recession, it got hit, so it slowed everything down. There are several centers empty because of that. We need more commercial.”
Marcia Harelik said she and her husband moved to North Las Vegas three years ago from Austin, Texas.
“I think it’s great for the city,” Harelik said. “My husband and I still think of Nevada and Las Vegas as part of the wild, Wild West — the frontier. So what’s particularly interesting about this concept is that we’re right in the middle of building a city, a new economy.”
The city plans to present its livable centers study report to the City Council in June. It will include recommended strategies to guide development, Murphy said.
“The concepts and recommendations will focus on urban design, economic development and transportation,” Murphy said.
After the city’s acceptance of the report, they will begin designing complete street improvements for Deer Springs Way, Murphy said.
The Asakura Robinson design team plans another public workshop at the end of March; the date and time haven’t been determined. Draft concept plans will be presented at that workshop, Murphy said. For updates on upcoming meetings and more information, visit bit.ly/2Grqrf4.