A mayor’s vision for North Las Vegas

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Steve Marcus

North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee holds up a shovel during a water pipeline groundbreaking ceremony near Speedway Boulevard and Centennial Parkway in North Las Vegas Tuesday, July 31, 2018. At right is pipeline partner Weston Adams. The pipeline, expected to be completed in late 2020, will jumpstart development in the Apex Industrial Park, officials said.

Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 | 2 a.m.

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 North Las Vegas Mayor John Lee.

Let me take you on a journey into the future: It’s 2029, and North Las Vegas has hit its stride. Industry bustles at Apex Industrial Park, where tens of thousands of workers arrive daily on a commuter train to manufacture goods and innovate new technologies. The city’s urban downtown core thrives with arts, culture, small businesses and amenities; visitors sip coffee at streetside cafes and neighbors gather to talk outside their row houses. The North Las Vegas Medical District across from the Veterans Affairs Hospital is a hub for cutting-edge medical research; our e-commerce centers along Interstate 15 have become an essential part of the national economy, facilitating the movement of goods across the West Coast; and our city is the second largest in Nevada.

This is North Las Vegas’ future. All of the building blocks are in place.

For the past six years, our city council, city manager and staff have worked diligently to transform North Las Vegas. We have restored the city’s financial health and returned North Las Vegas’ credit rating to investment grade. We have found and instituted business efficiencies citywide to better serve our residents and customers. We have invested in infrastructure, public safety, parks and libraries.

The city of North Las Vegas has become a national model for good government and sound municipal practices. Our achievements have been recognized internationally by governments trying to replicate our success, by think tanks that want to understand how we have accomplished what many other cities still struggle with, and by the media, including the Las Vegas Sun, that just last month lauded our accomplishments in its editorial page.

Now, the real work begins!

People didn’t hire me to fix potholes or street lights or broken sprinkler heads. Our remarkable City Manager Ryann Juden manages our phenomenal staff to ensure operational matters are addressed efficiently and effectively. I was elected mayor to set our vision for the future and build a foundation that will ensure the success and prosperity of North Las Vegas today and decades from now.

The accomplishments of the past six years, while spectacular and certainly not easy to achieve, have simply restored the equilibrium of our city. Harder work lies ahead as we chart a course for the future well-being of our residents.

Now would not be the time to rest on our laurels or assume any spoils of success. The sound and deliberate actions our team has taken to save North Las Vegas from the brink of state takeover must continue to ensure that our city never again faces a similar position as in the past, no matter what turns the local or national economy may take. Now more than ever, we must be strategic about the infrastructure investments we make, the personnel we hire and the future we navigate.

While North Las Vegas’ unprecedented progress has been the result of the purposeful action taken in City Hall, the work we’ve done, and will continue to do, has been and will always be for our residents. The social contract and the trust our residents place in us as leaders guide us at every turn. Our job is to give back, to ensure that North Las Vegas children enjoy a better quality of life than their parents, and so on, for many generations to come.

Directed by the input of our residents and stakeholders, we’re seeing this vision come to fruition today with the tens of thousands of jobs we’ve created, the new parks we’ve opened, and the restaurants and hospitals we’ve recruited. The proof of our success is shown in increasing property values and the diversification of our local economy away from its historic overreliance on gaming, hospitality and tourism. We’ll continue to see that vision grow with the development of a medical district, the transformation of our downtown, citywide beautification and safety efforts, and the creation of new divisions and departments to better serve our community.

North Las Vegas’ future is bright. It’s exciting. And it’s in progress now. Just hide and watch.

John J. Lee is in his second term as mayor of North Las Vegas.