Boy, I Sure Hope I’m Wrong About This One
BY LOUIE OVERSTREET
I sincerely do not want to be right, but I can’t shake the feeling that another white elephant is being sold to the black community of West Las Vegas.
The city used “tax credits” to fund a $15 million remodel of the old Westside School that houses Power 88 radio.
A new building and studio could have been built for a third of what is being spent to remodel one of the first schools built in Las Vegas, a site rich with African-American history.
As a part of the remodeling, they are converting the classrooms into business space. This foolish notion will not be a successful undertaking. Here are some of the reasons:
- Poor location. The facility is located up against a freeway. Unless you own a trucking company or a “homeboy” shopping enterprise, this not a place to do business.
- The property is back in the corner of a residential neighborhood with poor arterial street access.
- The only natural lighting available to the space is a glass door. There are no windows in the spaces at all.
- To get to the site, you have to navigate through the daily foot traffic of hundreds of homeless people waiting to receive meals donated by churches in the immediate area.
With no possibility of walkup business, most enterprises could not be successful at this location. Thus, operating costs have no chance of being offset with an operating income stream.
The remodeling is being undertaken by the large construction company, Whiting Turner. It was not a surprise then, during a recent visit to the site, to notice there were no minority workers on site.
The political and civic leaders representing this community are batting 0 for 2. A couple years ago, this same group of people supported building a $13 million underpass beneath the same freeway, to have an additional access to downtown via F Street — when D Street access to downtown was less than 300 feet away.
Ain’t no chance these leaders will ever make the major leagues with their collective batting average on promoting community-based participatory economic development. It’s a damn shame this community continues to suffer under such poor leadership.