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Former Henderson redevelopment manager Michelle Romero announced her bid for Henderson City Council Ward 1 seat on Wednesday.
Ward 1 Councilwoman Gerri Schroder is term-limited. She was elected to the Henderson City Council in April 2007 and re-elected in 2011 and 2015.
“I want to see the city continue moving forward into the future, while also maintaining its goal to be premier,” Romero said. “I think we have a fantastic community, and I believe we’re heading in the right direction. We just need to continue to grow smartly, so we have the right infrastructure and technology in place that will allow us to keep up with global trends and developments.”
Before retiring from the city in 2016, Romero worked in Henderson for 25 years, the last nine as the city’s redevelopment manager.
Projects that Romero worked on included the Union Village health care complex, Cadence master plan community and improvements in the Water Street District.
Romero owns a consulting firm that specializes in redevelopment, economic development and planning issues. She also serves on the Community Advisory Board for Henderson Hospital and is a board member for Parallel Innovation Labs, a nonprofit organization created to build educational and laboratory infrastructure.
Although the filing period for the municipal election does not start until January 2019, Romero said she made the announcement early because she is a “planner by design.”
And early dives into city elections have not been rare in Southern Nevada. Three candidates have declared their intentions to run for Las Vegas City Council seats next year.
To view on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website, please click here.
On Jan. 8, Michelle Romero hosted a campaign launch party to announce her bid for Henderson City Council Ward I.
Family, friends and the community joined Romero for the official announcement at the Heritage Park Aquatic Complex, located at 310 S. Racetrack Rd. Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson and Henderson City Councilwoman Gerri Schroder praised Romero for her civic service experience, passion for community and skills needed for the position.
Romero delivered her first official campaign speech addressing her vision for the city of Henderson.
“I have been a Henderson resident since birth. I love this city and its residents,” said Romero. “I feel it is my duty to give back and ensure residents have the opportunity to weigh in on important issues in our community.”
Serving the city of Henderson for more than 25 years, Romero currently owns a consulting firm that specializes in redevelopment, economic development and planning issues. She serves on the Community Advisory Board for Henderson Hospital and is also a board member for Parallel Innovation Labs, a nonprofit organization created to build educational and laboratory infrastructure to have a rich science and tech ecosystem in southern Nevada. For more information, please visit www.VoteMichelleRomero.com.
Last year, the Henderson State of the City address was as much about the person giving it as the city itself. Then-Mayor Andy Hafen was termed out and preparing to retire after three decades as an elected official in the city. Looking back as his chapter closed was inevitable and appropriate.
This year, his successor spent most of her time looking forward, not back.
Mayor Debra March kicked off her first State of the City with a bang.
Pyrotechnics set to the tune of “Back in Black” and an appearance by the Raiderettes led into an approximately 40-minute speech that laid out a road map for economic growth and development in a city that is home to about 308,000 people and expected to grow to 390,000 over the next 20 years.
In 2017, the city issued more than 14,000 building permits and permitted nearly 11 million square feet of new construction. Residential construction permits are up more than 7 percent from the same time last year.
“That is truly remarkable,” said March. “But there will be plenty of work for us in the future, as we expect those numbers are only going to increase.”
Here are three key takeaways from the State of the City address today at the Green Valley Ranch Grand Events Center:
1. The Raiders but also west Henderson
Not surprisingly, March highlighted her speech with talk about the city’s intent to sell 55 acres of land near the Henderson Executive Airport to the Raiders for their corporate headquarters and practice facility. That deal is expected to be finalized on Feb. 6, and the facility is expected to bring $75 million of investment, hundreds of jobs in construction and development, and hundreds of additional jobs once the facility is up and running.
But March also characterized the Raiders deal as just one part of continuing growth in the western part of the city. She highlighted other projects in the area, including a 100-acre mixed-use urban center called Henderson West, which will be located east of the M Resort, as well as the Starr Road Interchange, which recently broke ground. She also hinted at “several other projects” whose details will emerge over the next few weeks.
2. Mature neighborhoods aren’t being forgotten about
March also highlighted development in some of the older parts of the city, including historic Henderson and Pittman. Water Street and other older parts of the city are undergoing infrastructure improvements as part of the city’s Complete Streets vision, which includes adding landscaping, common areas, lighting, more pedestrian space and bike-friendly roads.
Water Street is also being expanded north to connect the Water Street District with Cadence, a master-planned community that will have nearly 13,000 homes.
In the Pittman area, attracting much-needed amenities like a grocery store and health-care facilities is becoming a priority. Additionally, the city has a five-year plan for rehabilitating older homes and introducing community gathering spaces in the area. Part of those plans include a partnership with musician Carlos Santana and Habitat for Humanity.
3. Public safety is a priority
In the most touching part of the address, March acknowledged Joe and Tracy Robbins, parents of Quinton Robbins, a Henderson Parks and Recreation employee who was one of 58 people killed during the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
“In a city where family means so much to us, we were heartbroken at his loss,” she said. “We celebrate Quinton and the good that he stood for.”
March said she was proud of the selfless service demonstrated by local police and firefighters during the Oct. 1 tragedy. She said the city is “more committed than ever” to public safety. To this end, the city launched an emergency operations center that integrates resources from multiple public safety agencies and departments.
She also recognized two newly appointed public safety officials — Fire Chief Shawn White and Police Chief LaTesha Watson — and their departments. White was sworn in Sept. 7, and Watson took the helm on Nov. 21.
March boasted about the fire department maintaining a cardiac survivability rate three times that of the national average, as well as the completion of the new Fire Station 91 serving Inspirada and west Henderson. She also noted upcoming expansions of Fire Station 83 on Burkholder Boulevard near Lake Mead Parkway and Fire Station 98 on Coronado Center Drive.
“When coupled with the fact that we are increasingly using smart city technologies to enhance public safety, it will streamline and improve all of our first responders’ abilities to protect residents and businesses,” March said.
To view on the Las Vegas Sun website, please click here.
Over the years, there has been no shortage of big development plans in southwest Henderson, at the southern tip of the valley.
Texas developer Chris Milam set out to build an arena and three stadiums south of the M Resort. But the city of Henderson sued him, claiming he wanted cheap public land to flip to other developers, and barred him from doing future projects in Henderson as part of a 2013 settlement.
Years earlier, developer Bill Plise drew up plans for City Crossing, a 126-acre mixed-use project near Henderson Executive Airport. But it wasn’t built, and both the project and Plise went bankrupt.
Now another big project is on the drawing board: 103 acres of retail, offices and housing.
The Henderson City Council this month approved a zoning change for the project site, at St. Rose Parkway and Bermuda Road, allowing 2,920 residential units, 670,000 square feet of office and retail space and a 250-room hotel, according to the developer, Alan Sauvage.
His project, Henderson West, would take at least 10 years to build and cost $950 million, said Sauvage, who owns the land and envisions luxury high-rises, a movie theater, a brewery and more.
The San Diego resident, whose other ventures include banking and alcohol distribution, met with the Las Vegas Review-Journal to discuss the project. Edited excerpts:
Q: Would you develop this all yourself or sell chunks of land to other developers who would then build office, retail, residential?
We have entertained talks with some developers. We are getting ready to have in-depth conversations with national, global-type master developers who have done projects of this scale.
Q: So is that the plan, to sell the land piece-by-piece?
We are not sure yet. What has happened recently is that we’ve had a lot of big players — national players — who are interested in certain pieces of this project to develop themselves. We’d like to keep control of it — I want to keep at least 50 percent control of it for the long term. Right now it’s just deciding which master developer we want to team with.
Q: There have been other big projects planned for this area that didn’t go anywhere. What would you tell someone who said, “We’ve seen this type of plan before and nothing has happened.” Why is this going to be different?
A: Thank God we never lent money on those deals, and we had a chance to. This is different because we own the land free and clear. We are not a developer looking for a quick buck. Our goal, in all of our businesses, is to build long-term, stable cash flow. And we’re going to focus on businesses that we’re passionate about. What makes this work is that we’re patient, and we have the luxury of being patient because we don’t have any debt.
Q: How would you finance this all?
A: We would fund a big chunk of it, possibly by ourselves, but that’s where our negotiations are going right now.
Q: When you go on St. Rose Parkway from Eastern Avenue to Las Vegas Boulevard, stretches of it are developed, but at a certain point it turns to desert, especially on the south side of St. Rose. Why do you think that stretch has remain undeveloped?
A: These chunks didn’t get developed because they were owned by big landowners who weren’t developers; they were just flippers. They were looking to carve pieces up and sell. You see what’s happened to the town — you think, “Gosh, we grew so fast, it was great.” But you look back and it’s kind of a disaster in some spots because there was so much stuff that got built quick and cheap. We’ve got to get away from the quick flip, we’ve got to start thinking long-term, sustainable.
Q: How realistic is to see high-rise development here? There are some plans on the drawing board in Las Vegas, but no one is building residential towers in the valley right now.
A: I think we could fill up a tower today. People are looking to change the way they live. I have a yard and a couple of little kids, and it’s fun and all, but if I could be in a tower with great views or a loft with courtyards, I could walk to Whole Foods or the theater or to sushi — that’s where I’m going as I get older. We see millennials, the younger generation going there, and you’ll see retirees going in that direction.
To view on the Las Vegas Review-Journal website, please click here.