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100 days into new job, Scott Adams has big plans for Las Vegas

Updated November 1, 2017 - 10:59 pm

Newly minted Las Vegas City Manager Scott Adams spent his first 100 days on the job touting Cashman Center and Symphony Park to developers and creating a program to keep at-risk city neighborhoods from slipping further into blight.

Those were a few of the initiatives Adams reported to the City Council on Wednesday, asserting that the 100-day plan he pitched while vying for the city manager job wasn’t “window dressing.”

The city has pivoted from pushing the Cashman site as the perfect location for an NFL stadium to floating it as a possibility for Amazon’s second headquarters.

The difference now is that with the Las Vegas 51s announcing they will move to a new Summerlin stadium, developers could look at Cashman knowing the site is fully available, Adams said.

A United Soccer League expansion team will start playing at Cashman next year, but the city can opt out of that lease agreement.

Downtown development

Cashman and the city’s Symphony Park are downtown sites with opportunity for catalytic development, and the city is waiting for a market study by World Market Center on convention space, Adams said.

Adams is also “confident” the vacant space at the city-owned Symphony Park will fill in with housing projects. Envisioned as a vibrant center in downtown Las Vegas, the former railyard is home to The Smith Center for the Performing Arts and the Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. But parcels sit vacant even as development in the valley has picked up following the recession.

Adams said Wednesday he’s “very confident” the council will get to weigh in on two or three housing projects there.

“We’ve been vetting out a number of major developers,” Adams said.

A study by World Market Center on convention space is pending, but putting a convention center closer to the downtown hotel base could position the city to host more conventions and large meetings, Adams said. Cashman Center’s convention area will close at the end of the year.

Elsewhere in city

Adams’ focus is on rebuilding other areas.

The city is developing a multifamily residential improvement program, a vacant building and abandoned property program, a neighborhood grant program and online services catering to neighborhoods and community groups, Adams said.

The city is using data to determine which neighborhoods need the most help.

“We’re a rapidly growing metropolitan area, and we’re the urban core,” Adams said. “There are neighborhoods in our city that are at risk.”

Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian, who represents one of the city’s central wards, said plans should take into account homelessness and squatters.

For the first time, Adams said, the city is reinvesting redevelopment agency money— previously used only for commercial projects — into residential endeavors.

“If we don’t address those at-risk neighborhoods, they’ll continue to slide. And I don’t want to see them take the rest of the city with it,” Adams said.

Internally, the city is facing a “silver tsunami”: 1,000 city employees, 30 percent of the workforce, will be eligible to retire within the next five years. Adams is leading a three-year plan focused on training, cross-training and getting experienced employees to share some of their institutional knowledge before they retire.

“There will be a big fight for a qualified labor force,” Adams said.

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.

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