Where I Stand:

In Las Vegas, life is truly beautiful

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Las Vegas News Bureau / Courtesy

Former Las Vegas Mayor Oscar B. Goodman and current Mayor Carolyn Goodman dedicate the City of Las Vegas’ gateway sign.

As he does every August, Brian Greenspun is taking some time off and is turning over his Where I Stand column to others. Today’s guest columnist is Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman.

Since Oscar and I arrived in Las Vegas in 1964, we have marveled at the potential of our city. Las Vegas was, and remains, a place of dreams and intrigue filled with extraordinary entertainment and exquisite dining opportunities.

Back in those days our town was considerably smaller and a much simpler place, yet we had dreams even then of becoming a world-class city. Many of us looked into the future and saw a place with high-end health care with ongoing medical research, a developing cultural base and major league sports teams. It is incredible to look back now and see how far Las Vegas has come in making these dreams a reality.

It is sometimes difficult to recognize history as it is happening, but I believe our city has entered a key moment that will affect our community for years to come. Put simply, our city is on the cusp of becoming a substantive municipality, a thriving urban core with inviting livability.

I think about how apt the moniker of our downtown music festival, “Life is Beautiful,” truly is. Life is beautiful in our city because of all it has come to offer. As we continue to add the amenities that improve quality of life, we are making Las Vegas a today place as well as a lofty, world-class tourist and business destination.

Our urban core is booming with development. We are taking a leading role in the world of technology with the creation of our International Innovation Center @Vegas. We are connecting our communities with cutting-edge technology as we coordinate research and development with international partners.

Any recognized metropolitan area must first be the center for government and laws, and our historic downtown is home to our federal courthouse, the Nevada Supreme Court, the Nevada State office building, the Clark County Government Center, the Regional Justice Center and our own City Hall, with an under-construction municipal courthouse nearby.

Health care is making great strides as the Las Vegas Medical District (home to University Medical Center, the UNLV School of Medicine, the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Valley Hospital, Steinberg Diagnostic and Desert Radiology) has gained a reputation that has spread beyond Nevada’s borders. The medical district is a place where we are seeing future doctors train and gain access to residency experiences and where cutting-edge research is now occurring.

Our cultural center also continues to grow. We now boast our own Las Vegas Philharmonic orchestra and Nevada Ballet Theatre, both housed in The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, which also attracts touring Broadway shows and is home to our Discovery Children’s Museum. Other museums that are historical in nature or unique to Las Vegas, such as The Mob and Neon museums, increasingly bring tourists into the heart of the city to meet varied cultural appetites. The 18b Arts District is expanding with new galleries, antique shops, retro clothing stores and popular restaurants, buzzing at night with locals and tourists.

Las Vegas knows that inherent to having a strong metropolitan area is having a permanent and robust resident population with individuals who seek and enjoy all of the amenities of downtown city living. We are seeing many projects bring new residential opportunities to the downtown area. Fremont 9 has become a grand addition to the city. Six hundred more units under construction in Symphony Park by Southern Land and Aspen Heights will complement the already successful condominium living choices of the Newport and Soho lofts, the Juhl and the Ogden. The city is seeing a definite shift to more people living in the urban core — desiring to live the carefree lifestyle that has no lawns to mow, pools to clean, roofs to repair or congested drives to work.

We have so many major developments and attractions that are spurring excitement, including the 315,000-square-foot Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas, the Fremont Street Experience canopy upgrades, the Circa hotel-casino, the Boyd Group’s new tower and upgrades, the new tower under construction at the Downtown Grand and a new high-end Marriott Hotel coming to Symphony Park.

I find it thrilling to watch and participate in the today place of Las Vegas as a city sitting on the verge of a new renaissance. All the work that has been put into our city in the first decade of the new millennium has manifested itself in amazing successes, and the work that has occurred during this last decade is bearing new fruit. What a great time to be alive and be in our great Las Vegas!

Mayor Carolyn G. Goodman, first elected in 2011, has won re-election twice, most recently in April.