Anyone who has driven into Henderson in the past few months has likely seen the new homes going up in the Black Mountain area. And when I say “going up” I mean it literally; these homes are being built onto the side of the mountain itself.
From miles away you can see the scars of twisting lines that will someday become residential streets. Up close, some spots already have rows of cookie-cutter McMansions clustered together. The view from those homes is, undoubtedly, quite beautiful. But every time I look at them I can’t help but think about the beauty that we’re losing by building this Vegas version of the Hollywood Hills.
I may not be that old but I am old enough to remember when that part of Henderson was still relatively new. I remember when driving between Boulder City and the Las Vegas Valley was considered “a drive” because there was a stretch of relative nothing between them. If you stay in one place long enough, you’ll eventually see it turn into something that you barely recognize.
And I’ll be honest, the Henderson creep never really bothered me. The houses off of Wagonwheel Drive, removing the stop light at Railroad Pass, it all seemed like a natural progression of growth and time.
If anything, I liked the idea of living nestled in the small-town charm of Boulder City but having the big box stores and trendy breweries of the revitalized Water Street District conveniently close by.
But these houses on the mountain create a visceral reaction in me every time I see them. They’re a reminder that change will happen whether you like it or not and that someone else’s idea of progress may be the complete opposite of yours. Over time, those homes are going to blend into the background of my daily commute just like the ever-expanding Las Vegas Valley has become normal to me. I will eventually stop feeling a tinge of sadness when I look at them.
Change will continue to happen around me as my hometown becomes less and less recognizable.
My living room window boasts a lovely view of the River Mountains. Most mornings I enjoy a cup of coffee while I watch the sun come up and light up the beautiful red rocks. It brings me some solace to believe that my morning view will remain largely unchanged and that the “BC” on the side of Red Mountain will not someday be replaced by new builds erected for people looking to escape the choked Las Vegas Valley.
Boulder City’s residents hold a diversity of opinions but I think if there’s anything we’re all likely to agree on it’s that we understand the importance of preserving what makes this area beautiful. I hope I’m right. I hope when my children return to their childhood home in a few decades, they’ll find comfort in the familiar.
The opinions expressed above belong solely to the author and do not represent the views of the Boulder City Review. They have been edited solely for grammar, spelling and style, and have not been checked for accuracy of the viewpoints.
Kayla Kirk is a lactation educator in the Las Vegas Valley. She holds degrees in psychology and perinatal education from Boston University and the University of California, San Diego. You can find her hanging out in the local coffee shops or hiking with her husband and two children.