Portion of park makeover done

The first half of the rehabilitation of Lorenzi Park, one of the city’s oldest, will be presented to the public Saturday night, and the $11.4 million project is one of several ongoing or scheduled projects aimed at updating and improving Las Vegas’ parks.

The city has $88.6 million in recently completed, ongoing or planned renovations to city parks, with most of the money coming from a share of public land sales.

The projects were planned long ago, said Mayor Pro Tem Gary Reese, and the funding allows the city to provide more park amenities than it would otherwise be able to afford.

And while the city has many needs, especially as the economy deteriorates, these funds can be used only for parks and related projects, and not city operations.

"If we don’t use it for that, we lose it," Reese said. "It’s a godsend. I don’t know what we’d do without it."

Work on the east half of Lorenzi Park at 3333 W. Washington Ave. started in April 2008. Improvements included tennis courts and softball fields, better lighting, a special events area, a new playground and expanded parking.

The west half of the 60-acre park is scheduled to see reconstruction starting next year, with a 2012 reopening. The work there includes reconfiguring the lake and installing new pumps, new restrooms, picnic areas, trails and basketball courts, parking improvements, lighting and historical displays. The second part of the renovations is budgeted at $11 million.

The park was once the site of the Twin Lakes Resort, (the lake used to be divided in two), built in 1949. It has been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and is on Las Vegas’ historic property registry.

The Lorenzi Park work and some other projects are being paid for with money from the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act, a 1998 law that sets aside some of the money from sales of Southern Nevada public lands to pay for parks, capital improvements and conservation efforts.

Those funds paid for $10 million in renovations at Leavitt Park, formerly known as Jaycee Park, which reopened in February after a year of work, including adding a lighted, artificial turf soccer field.

There’s also $17.6 million in public land funds going toward the $54.5 million being spent to redo Freedom Park at 850 N. Mohave Road. The rest of that project, which includes fields replicating famous baseball stadiums, is being covered by city funds. The park is supposed to open early next year.

Work is also expected to start next year at Rotary Park, near Charleston and Valley View boulevards. The $1.7 million project includes additional parking, a walking path and picnic shelters, and is being paid for with federal Community Development Block Grant money.

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

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