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Henderson Mayor Debra March talks Oakland A's and other issues facing the city

City of Henderson

Southern Nevada’s embrace of professional sports doesn’t end with Las Vegas.

Henderson is home to the Raiders offices and training facilities, a new American Hockey League franchise, and is pursuing the Oakland A’s as the team considers relocating.

Debra March has supported those efforts as mayor of Nevada’s second-largest city for the last four years. She told State of Nevada that professional sports franchises have brought hundreds of jobs to Henderson along with adding to the quality of life.

After deciding that “sports would be an important priority for us,” March said the city has worked “to create an environment that's conducive to that.”

Along with the Raiders and related infrastructure investment in west Henderson, March mentioned the Lifeguard Area downtown, where the Silver Knights minor league hockey team practices.

She said the city does its homework to make sure sports-related projects are realistic and fit in with the larger vision for Henderson.

“We've matured as a community,” she said. “We're able to look at projects and proposals that come forward and to make decisions that are good for our community.”

As for the A’s, March said the team is “still in the study phase” as it reviews proposals from Oakland and Southern Nevada.

“We've met with them a couple of times, and I know, other parts of the community have met with them as well,” March said.

March touched on a variety of topics in her hourlong interview, including:

• The pandemic: She said Henderson was better prepared to respond because many on its city staff had received federal disaster training prior to the pandemic.

“We had the good fortune to have a team that was working in sync with one another,” she said.

March also said that while “initially, the permitting process slowed down,” the process has returned to normal and “we're back to where we've always been in terms of having thoughtful development in our community.”

•  Supporting education: “We actually are taking 30% of the revenue that we receive from cannabis sales in Henderson and we use those for programming” to benefit young people.

•  Boulder Highway: The venerable east side thoroughfare is getting a facelift, including center-running transit, “which will create more efficiency where buses can and should be able to move through traffic quicker and be able to trigger lights to make transit work better.”

•  Development: A portion of the proposed disposal of additional federal lands in the valley should be devoted to industrial development, in part, because it “doesn't use a lot of water.”

•  Her biggest achievement: While saying it’s difficult to focus on one issue, “probably the most noticeable for folks who have been into the downtown Henderson area is the transformation that's occurred down there. She mentioned the Lifeguard Arena and new dining options on Water Street.

“We're really creating a quality of life and a lifestyle that our residents really celebrate.  Henderson's downtown has actually become an urban center.”

Debra March, mayor, Henderson

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Dave Berns, now a producer for State of Nevada, recently returned to KNPR after having previously worked for the station from 2005 to 2009.