Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on Thursday delivered an optimistic outlook of the city’s standing as the economic and cultural hub of the state, buoyed by continued development and population growth.
In her eighth State of the City speech, Goodman also cast Las Vegas as undeterred in the face of national uncertainties.
“While the stock market roller coaster ride has us all perplexed, and the federal government, sadly, is still shut down, here in Las Vegas, we are bullish,” she told a crowd at City Hall. “We’re excited. Our economy is solid, and employment is incredibly strong. The future really looks to be phenomenal for all of us, and we’re going to keep that going.”
The mayor, who is seeking a third and final term in office, rattled off a series of economic victories over the past year and across several sectors as well as improvements in issues such as connectivity, health care and homelessness.
While Goodman stressed the need for partnership between government entities and private industry in tackling those issues, the mayor emphasized homelessness, which she called a “pervasive” problem throughout the U.S. that cannot be meaningfully addressed in a silo.
“I assure you that only as a full-out, united cohesive mandate and effort in all of Southern Nevada, will we be effective in making the humanitarian and critical changes necessary to help this population,” she said.
Then she declared: “The city is not waiting anymore.”
The city’s 24-hour homeless courtyard project at Foremaster Lane and Las Vegas Boulevard reflects that urgency, she said. City officials envision it as a single site for a range of services: restrooms and showers; medical and mental health help; and housing and employment aid.
The project will not succeed without private sector buy-in, and Goodman pointed to the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE as a promising initiative to allow corporations, businesses, nonprofits and private individuals to donate to various city projects.
By November, the fund had raised nearly $500,000 and 25 percent had been allocated for homeless services, officials said.
It will augment other social service programs, including expanding before- and after-school programs and a plan to equip 2,000 families in public housing with tablet computers, high-speed Internet and computer training.
“For as we know, throughout the country and the world, there’s such divisiveness and polarization,” Goodman said, “yet here in Las Vegas we continue successfully to work to bring us all closer together.”
During Thursday’s speech, themed “We are Vegas,” Goodman said the city had proven itself as inclusive, diverse, compassionate and technically savvy through its actions and awards bestowed on it in 2018.
She lauded city staff for being “dynamic and capable” and acknowledged her colleagues, including outgoing council members Lois Tarkanian, who is termed out, and Bob Coffin, who is not seeking re-election.
Looking forward, she said the city will build upon momentum earned after boosting tourism downtown and expanding medical facilities and cultural and art offerings.
An update to the 30-year master plan is underway, she said, and the city is expected to add 26 deputy city marshals and open a new fire station in Ward 5.