Interchange use to be studied: Council OKs creation of master plan for land near bypass

Boulder City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday to hire a consulting firm in order create a master plan for the use of land around the future Interstate 11-U.S. Highway 95 interchange area.

The interchange will be located near the solar fields on U.S. 95.

The consulting contract was given to the firm GC Garcia, a Henderson-based land planning and development company.

The city will pay the company $147,000 from the city’s research and development account to create and review the master plan for the interchange area through a series of workshops with residents of the community.

The city has also set aside an extra $33,00 for optional aspects of the master plan such as a community survey conducted by GC Garcia.

Boulder City Director of Community Development Brok Armantrout said the city has a number of opportunities to put businesses in the area of the interchange, and wants to ensure that those who buy or lease land in the area will benefit the community.

“There is not a day that goes by that my people aren’t taking requests to buy or lease land in the interchange area,” Armantrout said. “We want to be sure whatever we put in that area will have a lasting effect on the community for the better.”

GC Garcia would be required to look at all factors of building around the interchange. These would include utility costs, zoning requirements, and community sentiment through public workshops to see the feasibility of building around the area, according to Armantrout.

“Master plan services are needed because we need to know what goes into building in the interchange area,” Armantrout said. “What are utility costs going to be and how much will it cost to create utilities in the area? We also have to think about the appropriate zoning plans.”

Ideal and realistic

George Garcia, owner of GC Garcia, applauded the city for wanting to consult about the interchange.

“I think with a lot of cities you just see a fast track mentality that is not good,” Garcia said. “The city is doing a good thing by allowing us to look at the marketplace realities and create a master plan for you that is not only ideal but also realistic.”

Boulder City Mayor Rod Woodbury said out of the four companies that were interviewed GC Garcia stood out.

“The scope of this work is about figuring the uses we want and don’t want at the interchange and I think they (GC Garcia) bring a lot of expertise to the table.”

Woodbury also expressed concerns about using an outside firm to do the plan instead of city staff.

“We looked at the option of doing this in house, but our staff is already spread thin,” Woodbury said. “This is a major-scale project that we want to get done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Garcia and his team can do that.”

City Councilman Duncan McCoy said the city would be dealing with the interchange if they did something or not, so they might as well do something.

“This interchange is going to happen so whatever we do will have an impact on our city,” McCoy said. “It will be a benefit to develop this area, but we need to know how much it is going to cost and the city needs to be involved and we should have a master plan.”

Right decision

Councilman Cam Walker, who participated via teleconference call thanks to a new ordinance passed last month allowing participation without being physically present, also said the project was a necessity for efficiently using the interchange area.

“I am sorry I was unable to participate in interviews, but I did read GC Garcia’s packet and I think we made the right decision hiring them,” Walker said.

GC Garcia will begin work soon on the master plan but no time table was given for completion of the project.

In other news:

The council approved 4-0 an interlocal agreement between the city and the Regional Transportation Commission to fund and begin the development stage for the Boulder City Parkway Complete Street Project.

The project is expected to renovate the business area currently known as Nevada Highway, but will eventually be changed to Boulder City Parkway.

Expanded bike paths

The project also will expand bike paths as well making pedestrian pathways safer by moving the sidewalks father away from the road and fixing crosswalks in heavy-traffic areas such as the crosswalk near the McDonald’s on Nevada Highway.

The city currently has over $800,000 in the fiscal year budget to complete the first phase of the project.

Woodbury said improvements to the area were needed after the city spent money improving Boulder City’s downtown.

“I know the businesses on the highway sometimes feel like the red-headed stepchildren and we need to fix that,” he said. “It is not a friendly area with all the traffic and we need to fix that so we can bring more people into those businesses.”

The city is currently looking for a consulting firm to prepare concept plans, landscape renderings, as well engineer design plans for Boulder City Parkway. The application deadline ended May 19, but the city has not hired a firm yet.

Councilman Rich Shuman was absent.

Contact reporter Max Lancaster at mlancaster @bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @MLancasterBCR.

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