Mayor Goodman stood behind a podium in front of a full house Thursday night to deliver her State of City address. Many of the mayor’s talking points paid special attention to Downtown. Here’s what she had to say.
The Downtown Master Plan
“One of our priorities continues to be the growth of our urban core, the most challenged of areas,” said Mayor Goodman. In 2015, the city engaged in the first steps of developing the Downtown Master Plan, which focuses on land use and community development. Mayor Goodman mentioned the hope for a more formalized version of the plan to be completed in the spring. In particular, she pointed out the need for more parks, which would include smaller pocket and linear parks as well as large parks. She continued to say that transportation is a major component to the plan, which would focus connectivity to the airport and adjoining communities.
The mayor emphasized the need to address Medicaid reimbursement rates, saying Nevada “pales in comparison to adjoining states.” She mentioned The Cleveland Clinic’s want to expand and addressing rising Medicaid rates will allow the clinic to do so, as well as attract and keep quality doctors in our state.
City Council voted on January 7, 2016 to create the Department of Youth Development and Social Innovation. The new department will support the Downtown Achieves program, which is devoted to low-funded, low-achieving inner-city schools, along with the Safekey and the My Brother’s Keeper initiatives.
Per Mayor Goodman, 50 new projects were started or completed Downtown in 2015. The projects created nearly 2,000 construction jobs and 2,100 permanent jobs worth a combined value of $305 million. “The momentum is showing no sign of slowing and I guarantee you we are going to continue to stoke that engine,” the mayor said. She hopes to attract new business to the area through the 2016 Vegas Edge campaign.
Downtown upgrades will be concentrated on a more walkable city, which includes plans for the Symphony Park pedestrian bridge connecting the park to Downtown. Phase two of the Main Street rehabilitation project is in full effect making Main Street and Commerce one-way couplets. “Always with an eye to integrating our wonderful artwork,” Mayor Goodman said. And get ready to “un-spaghetti the spaghetti bowl” with Project Neon.
The City of Las Vegas is committed to making our city one of the few in the country to be powered solely by renewable energy by 2017. There were six solar projects in 2015, including Las Vegas Detention Center in Downtown.
The mayor said we must continue to rely on non-profits, specialty groups and community services to work on the issue. But Las Vegas is making strong strides. In 2015 we were cited as one of the first cities to declare Functional Zero in veteran homelessness, meaning every veteran can have permanent housing. She called attention to mental illness saying the revolving door is causing employee and financial stresses. She ended the address by congratulating the municipal court for creating the first mental health court in 2015.
Watch Mayor Goodman’s State of the City address at StateOf.Vegas.