Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen delivered his last State of the City speech today to a packed room of 700 people at the Green Valley Ranch Grand Events Center.
The 40-minute speech focused mostly on the development of new business, residential expansion, health care and growth in education.
Here are four takeaways from the address:
1. Henderson has really grown
Hafen, who has lived all but his college years in Henderson, began his speech talking about his childhood in the 1950s. At the time, the city had only small businesses and scattered mom-and-pop shops amid vast swaths of empty desert.
“People couldn’t wait to leave Henderson, and they definitely didn’t want to move here,” he said.
Now, the city has four major casino-resorts and dozens of residential developments. It has been named by national publications as one of the nation’s safest cities with a population of more than 200,000 and one of America’s best places to live.
Since Hafen was first elected to the Henderson City Council in 1987, the city’s population has grown from about 50,000 to almost 300,000 people.
“Today, we’re a place where people can’t wait to live,” he said to applause from the audience. “We’ve been recognized for so many things, it’s kind of hard to keep track of.”
2. The city will continue to grow in 2017
The city broke ground in November on Fire Station 91, its 10th fire station and first to be built in 15 years. The 11,000-square-foot station, located on Democracy Drive and serving the Inspirada and Madeira Canyon areas, is scheduled to open in the fall.
Among companies set to expand in Henderson in 2017 are Turano Bakery, Pacific Dental Services, Pro Caps, BarclayCard, Barrick Gold and credit card maker Arroweye.
“With such a strong position, we will continue to attract and diversity our economic development efforts with new and exciting companies,” Hafen said.
In the downtown area, in addition to LoveLady Brewing, which opened in March, the city added Silicon Valley-based workforce trainer Transmosis Center, which educates people for “the high-quality, high-tech jobs we want here.”
The Transmosis Center graduated its first class in December.
Also, the ribbon was cut on the new Henderson Hospital in October, part of the Union Village medical complex. This year, the complex will add a Las Vegas Athletic Club, a 125-bed nursing facility, an acute-care hospital and assisted-living facilities.
“With plans for upscale family and senior housing, retail and entertainment, Union Village is poised to be the first medical tourism and wellness destination in the state,” Hafen said.
3. Henderson is keeping an eye on the environment
After 13 years of planning, the city joined the Bureau of Land Management in opening the Sloan Canyon National Conservation Area Visitor Center in May. The conservation area features Native American petroglyphs and natural rock formations.
“We were delighted to be part of the culmination of so many years of hard work,” he said.
Hafen said the area features “some of the most spectacular natural and historical landmarks in our state,” and the city would “continue to preserve” nearby natural resources.
4. The city wants to continue expanding education opportunities
With Roseman University, Touro University and campuses of UNLV, the College of Southern Nevada and Nevada State College, Henderson is home to some of the state’s largest higher education institutions.
But Hafen said he wants to continue “engaging in furthering educational opportunities in our community,” calling on the City Council and newly created Community Education Advisory Board to look for more ways to support Henderson’s education facilities.
“Each one of them is dedicated to making sure that our city continues to build on the successes of our past to ensure an even more successful future,” he said.