Mayor delivers upbeat message in final State of the City address

Mayor Oscar Goodman put a bow on 12 years of change Tuesday.

He did it in classic Goodman style: tall showgirls at his side, a drink in his hand, dressed to impress, and with a big smile on his face before an adoring crowd — including City Council members in formal wear — that filled the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute’s reception hall.

And he stuck with an upbeat message, a style that has helped him become the most popular elected official in Nevada.

Goodman used his last annual State of the City address to bid an early farewell to the office he has made into his own brand, listing accomplishments since taking office in 1999 and doling out a few new tidbits of information about downtown redevelopment.

Chief among those was a promise Goodman said Gov. Brian Sandoval made last week not to interfere with the city’s Redevelopment Agency, which is overseeing and in some cases offering incentives to development.

With the state facing a budget shortfall, local governments are worried that their revenues will be used to plug budget holes. But Goodman said redevelopment, at least, is safe.

"We felt that they may have been in jeopardy. We were hearing rumors that the governor was going to carve money out of our redevelopment efforts and use it for the state budget," Goodman said.

"Fortunately, we’ve been assured that is not the case, that he will not be doing that. We’re delighted that that’s his position. To the governor, we owe him a vote of thanks at this time."

He also unveiled two new items:

The city and the Clark County School District are negotiating plans for a new high school in Symphony Park for the district’s highest-achieving students, he said.

And the company redeveloping the Lady Luck casino has a letter of intent from Hilton Worldwide to operate a hotel tower in the downtown property, which will most likely be under the Doubletree brand.

For the most part, though, Goodman used the evening to look back at what’s happened during his term — from the acquisition of the 61-acre former railyard that’s now Symphony Park, site of a new performing arts building and a medical research center, to the deal that’s supposed to bring Zappos, the online retailer, to the current City Hall building when the city moves into the new city hall that’s under construction.

The site of his speech — the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Symphony Park — was meant to underscore the work the city has done to rejuvenate downtown during Goodman’s three terms.

He will leave office later this year since term limits prevent him from seeking re-election.

"It’s been a terrific ride," he said.

"It’s been a pleasure being the mayor of Las Vegas. I wouldn’t have traded a day. I haven’t had a bad one."

Goodman said he’s not sure what he’s doing next, but said he will remain visible.

"I’m too young for my obituary to be written," he told reporters after the speech. "I’m going to be around here a long, long time.

"It’s not a bittersweet night. It’s a great night. It’s a celebratory night."

Contact reporter Alan Choate at achoate@reviewjournal.com or 702-229-6435.

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