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Downtown Las Vegas is changing. But what direction do we want it to go?

The city and several other agencies are trying to figure out an answer to that question with a master plan for the area. 

They are about two-thirds of the way through the process which started last fall. 

During a public hearing Thursday night, consultants hired by the city presented proposals for that master plan based on past public hearings, online surveys, one-on-one meetings and more. 

Heidi Kyser, a writer for Nevada Public Radio’s Desert Companion magazine, attended the meeting. She told KNPR's State of Nevada that the master plan differs from the redevelopment plan the city has had for years.

"They have downtown redevelopment plan but that is more of a development and funding mechanism," she explained. "This is more of a land use and planning process." 

Kyser said the consulting firm presented three types of plans from conservative to aggressive. The conservative plan is based mostly on structures and efforts that city already has in place.

While the aggressive plan offers more out there ideas, like light rail, lots of parks and so-called centers of excellence, which are hubs for technology and innovation.

Support comes from

"They were kind of asking the public, 'how crazy do you want us to get with this plan,'" Kyser said.

Residents who attended pushed for more importance to be placed on historic preservation and incentives for more residential to build the kind of population density needed to sustain new businesses.

"There was quite a bit of feedback about a lack of accounting for preservation," Kyser observed.

She said people didn't want old buildings to be razed, but preserved and reused.

For for Kyser, the most interesting thing about the meeting was the lack of a budget for the master plan.

"To me, it was odd that they were putting these plans out there, these three plans, and saying 'choose the one you like the best, but we're not going to tell you how many any of them are going to cost,'" she said.

The city of Las Vegas clarified the money question. In an email to KNPR News, the city said: "$309,266 is the amount for the downtown master plan work. $700,000 is for three separate projects."

Kyser, along with many other people in the audience, thinks a lot of the ideas are great, but she's not sure we'll see them happen anytime soon.

"I was a little skeptical, like a lot of the people in the audience, that many of ideas proposed will ever come to fruition because of funding," she explained.


Heidi Kyser, writer, Desert Companion magazine

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KNPR's State of Nevada
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KNPR's State of Nevada