Centennial Hills projects include health and social services, residential and retail

In a desert freckled by empty storefronts and “for rent ” signs, some local projects still have heartbeats.

From new neighbors to construction still at the ground level, economic progress hasn’t flat lined in Centennial Hills.

Veteran care

Two days after it opened its doors to some of the valley’s estimated 45,000 veterans, the VA Northwest Primary Care Clinic had already cared for 143 of them, said Dr. Ramu Komanduri, chief of staff for the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System.

The 35,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility at Alexander Road at Rancho Drive opened to patients Sept. 27. It was the first of four clinics of its kind to open and provide primary care and mental health services under one roof for veterans, Komanduri said.

The remaining locations are at Buffalo Drive and Warm Springs Road, Boulder Highway and Racetrack Road and Charleston and Lamb boulevards.

The four identical clinics were planned geographically based on where patients live, and the VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System plans to consolidate care at other facilities to the sites.

“Initially, they will serve a fourth of the 45,000 veterans we serve,” Komanduri said. “The main aspect is all four of them are meant to develop the same type of care. They can receive their primary care and their mental health (care) all in one place and maybe remove the stigma of mental help.”

Other services provided by the clinics include basic radiology, laboratory, women’s health and a pharmacy.

Construction on the VA Northwest Primary Care Clinic started in March 2010. Komanduri said its location was chosen because it is along a major public transportation line and near the homes of many Las Vegas veterans.

Komanduri said the large gathering area in the clinic will be open to veterans’ organizations meetings in the future.

“We want to be a good member of the community,” he said.

Flight forward

Approval was granted Oct. 5 from the Las Vegas City Council to switch Gilcrease Nature Sanctuary’s annexation from Clark County to the city of Las Vegas . The sanctuary can now move forward with a $500,000 plan to upgrade the 41-year-old animal refuge.

The sanctuary, 8103 Racel St ., is home to 250 wild and exotic birds and a few dozen hoofed animals. Hundreds of migratory birds flock to the sanctuary annually, too.

The property was devastated by a fire in 2010 but updates were already needed on the property, executive director Barbara Price said.

Annexation eases hook-up to the city of Las Vegas sewer system, which is necessary for the sanctuary’s plans for new restroom facilities. The first order of business, Price said, is to update the entrance to the sanctuary on Racel Street and raise better fences to protect the animals.

The additions are just two of many that are outlined in the sanctuary’s master plan, she said.

“We are very excited,” she said before city officials granted final approval. “We are finally getting to the point we can get permits to break ground.”

Price said there likely will not be “significant changes” for about 10 months.

“It’s slow but sure,” she said.

For more information on plans, visit naturesanctuarygilcrease.org, call 645-6808 or email gilcreasenaturesanctuary@yahoo.com.

Nesting phase

Final designs are completed for a services center for Safe Nest, a local advocacy and assistance organization aimed at combating domestic violence . The center is planned on a parcel of land at the southeast corner of Decatur Boulevard and Smoke Ranch Road , executive director Estelle Murphy said.

The design includes a 36,500-square-foot, two-story building with two distinct entrances and parking areas to protect clients, Murphy said.

The main level will be split to serve a donation center and counseling units for abusive partners, most of whom are male and court referred.

The section level is reserved for a training facility with a resource library, administrative spaces and offices for victim advocates to meet with court clients.

Although the design is ready, Murphy said the organization still needs to raise about $8 million to bring the building to life. About $2 million is secured, and a local couple is looking for donors to challenge their $1 million donation.

For more information, visit safenest.org or call 877-0133.

Malls on pause

The 60-acre vacant parcel near the northwest corner of the Las Vegas Beltway and U.S. Highway 95 has been long viewed for a large shopping center. It was once dubbed the site for the Great Mall, until EHB Companies scooped up the land in December.

EHB Companies masterminded the still fresh Tivoli Village in Summerlin and plans to construct Las Vegas Renaissance on a 23.4-acre parcel at the southeast corner of Alta Drive and Rampart Boulevard.

Frank Pankratz, president of EHB Companies, said a project akin to the Summerlin facilities is in the works, but ground won’t be broken on the Centennial Hills location for at least another year.

Another project holding off on development is Grand Canyon Village Square, a proposed 25-acre shopping center on the northwest corner of Horse Drive and Oso Blanca Road. Laurich Properties is heading development.

The company could not be reached for comment regarding the project timeline. In January, representatives said construction was being halted while the overall market improved.

Promised lands

Lawyers for KAG Property LLC, owners of land near the intersection of Kyle Canyon Road and U.S. Highway 95, the proposed site of the Kyle Canyon Gateway Project, have submitted a list of proposed project conditions to neighbors.

Developers, the city of Las Vegas and community members have met to hash out the Kyle Canyon Development Agreement, which would outline provisions for the possible 9,000 houses, retail properties and a casino.

An attorney from Kaempfer Crowell law firm notified Todd Schwartz, president of the Spring Mountain Ranch Homeowners Association, that new conditions for land south of Scherkenbach and Billbray elementary schools were being written into plans.

The incorporated conditions include: tavern and liquor stores are prohibited; access to Brent Lane from the development would be prohibited; an 8-foot-high decorative block wall shall be constructed along Brent Lane; a 30-foot intense landscape buffer along Brent Lane with a separated 5-foot-wide sidewalk will be included; and a double row of 24-inch boxed Mondale pine trees will be planted nearby.

An additional community meeting is to be planned to discuss the provisions.

Contact Centennial and North Las Vegas View reporter Maggie Lillis at mlillis@viewnews.com or 477-3839.

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