On F Street and beyond, looking for substance to match the style
BY LOUIE OVERSTREET
From day one, I have taken the position that the reopening of F Street would be another style-over-substance project with no economic benefit for a community in serious need of revitalization.
This project was recently completed and dedicated to the tune of $13 million. Due to the nature of heavy construction, and my background as a professionally licensed civil engineer, I knew that minority contractors and skilled trade workers were not going to benefit in any meaningful way.
The proof in this pudding: the Nevada Department of Transportation holds our community in such disdain, that, at the dedication ceremony, it didn’t bother to make available equal employment opportunity reporting forms that document the level of participation by disadvantaged contractors.
To prove to myself how fanciful this project was, I recently conducted my own traffic survey between 9 a.m.-10 a.m. on both F Street and D Street — which are a short distance from one another, with each providing access to downtown Las Vegas. During a 15-minute period of time on F Street, only two vehicles used the street; 35 private vehicles, and a bus, used D Street during the same period.
Now, suppose that the $13 million was used for economic revitalization of homes in the area? To the tune of $10,000 each, 1,300 homes could have been remodeled. Unlike heavy construction, we have plenty of contractors who can do a good job on home remodeling.
Just recently, a multi-million dollar contract was awarded to remodel the Westside School, home to KCEP and vacant spaces that were once used for classrooms. It is my sincere wish that some key things occur on the project:
- The city will keep records on minority contractors and workers on the project.
- An operational plan will be developed, identifying how the remodeled space will be fully utilized to benefit the community (i.e. continuing education and municipal outreach services).
Failure to do so will represent just the latest example of our folks settling for style over the much-needed substance of direct economic benefit.