Las Vegas isn’t a “world-class city” yet, but it’s inching closer, Mayor Carolyn Goodman said during her State of the City address Thursday evening.
Keys to continued progress: the community’s safety, more downtown development and growth of the Las Vegas Medical District.
“We realize the world has changed, and nothing will matter if we are not first and foremost a sustainable and safe community,” the second-term mayor said from the Las Vegas City Hall Chambers. “No one will live in a city that isn’t safe, or invest in a city that isn’t safe, do business in a city that isn’t safe or move to a city that isn’t safe.”
To that end, Goodman said the city will expand efforts, such as the Mayor’s Faith Initiative, to work with law enforcement. The initiative, which launched four years ago, regularly convenes city staff, police, marshals and faith leaders to discuss a variety of safety-related issues.
City marshals also will begin patrolling Las Vegas parks and trails by bike and motorcycles, ensuring the safety of the community’s recreation areas, Goodman said.
If Goodman’s top priority is safety, her many nods toward development indicate it’s a close second. Last year, 50 new projects — including downtown restaurants and Pawn Plaza — created nearly 2,000 construction jobs and more than 2,100 permanent jobs, she said. The projects’ combined value: $305 million.
Hoping to lure even more businesses here, Goodman said the city will launch the “Vegas Edge” campaign to showcase everything it offers to companies, such as a tax-friendly climate and great weather. An improved online portal for development services will go live in a few weeks to, as Goodman put it, “cut the red tape for people doing business in Las Vegas.”
An entirely revamped city website will follow in March.
“The momentum is showing no signs of slowing, and I guarantee we are going to continue to stoke that engine,” she said, referring to development projects such as the luxury theater slated for downtown.
Another important piece of development, Goodman said, will be the expansion of the Las Vegas Medical District, anchored by University Medical Center and Valley Hospital, that’s expected to be the future home of the UNLV’s medical school building. But she said the medical district’s success is hinged on recruiting and retaining doctors to the area.
“Nevada’s Medicaid reimbursement rates pale in comparison to those offered in our adjoining states,” she said. “So I ask you, is it little wonder physicians would locate elsewhere first? The Legislature must address raising these rates now.”
Goodman’s wide-ranging speech also touched on the city’s dedication to improving transportation, supporting before- and after-school programs, reducing homelessness and addressing challenges facing those with mental health problems.
“I call upon all of you to re-energize for what's on our plates in 2016,” she said.