Today, I am contemplating what-if scenarios.
What if tourists drove down Boulder City Parkway and immediately felt the vibe of the city? What if that moment started at Veterans Memorial Drive and carried though to downtown?
I’m working largely from a nonrealistic place and posting a possibly unpopular position. So those who desire to do so, may imagine with me.
Driving into town you realize you have left the isolated loneliness of the desert. You’re now on Boulder City Parkway. On the right, a park runs from Veterans Memorial to Gingerwood Street, and hugs the back of the Gingerwood community to Teakwood Street. It’s a space with mixed green spaces and natural landscaping, parking for event shuttles and rideshares, jogging trails, playgrounds, and benches where visitors can enjoy sunsets over the Eldorado Valley.
Behind the rail riders is a new hotel. It provides jobs for local residents, access to the best Boulder City has to offer, and quick access to other regional amenities.
The shops in Boulder City Plaza are reminiscent of the best kind of Americana chic. As guests enjoy their frozen yogurt they wander around the other shops in the center, cruising a used book shop, the outdoor gear bin outlet, a paint-your-own pottery shop. There are four or five great food trucks parked in a center space with greenery, seating and umbrellas. Misters and heaters provide outdoor comfort for guests in all seasons. It’s a space that nods at the Two Wheels set up you’ll see further into town.
The Red Mountain Plaza across the street mirrors the old town chic. Guests can’t help but wander from one to the other. The shops seem to gently guide you onto and across the overhead walkway. In this moment you revel in the seamless flow of the place.
Continuing, you notice other amenities: fast food options, a climbing gym, All Mountain Cyclery, smallish houses for residents and maybe on the left a cute boutique hotel nestled next to the train station and perhaps offering partner deals for seasonal riders.
Curiosity pulls you through. Behind the houses, for those who know to look, is the Hangar Amphitheater and Park. Just another place where the arts come alive in Boulder City. It hosts local events like indoor/outdoor movie nights, music festivals, local plays, car shows. The acoustics are amazing.
The area around the hangar is fresh and vibrant, with plenty of parking and outdoor space to enjoy concerts from near or far, Some play areas for the kids, and maybe a Container Park-style shopping area that mirrors the aesthetic of the old hangar. It’s a versatile hang-out spot catering to the artsy and the earthy.
All along the route, shops and restaurants are tidy, clean and attractive — thanks in large part to investors as well as small business grants that help with beautification. Not homogeneous, but unique, and the imagination of business owners who can express through commerce the idea that “Home Means Nevada.”
On the corner of Buchanan Boulevard you see the new railroad museum and park. It’s another draw for families and train enthusiasts. On your right is a Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. Buchanan beats like a heart through Boulder and is the natural choice for another grocery store. Working in concert with Albertsons and the dollar store, it gives residents and visitors another option for reasonable and healthy meals. There is also a breast milk factory off of Industrial Road; Boulder City is glad for the support of these kinds of businesses as well.
The brand-new pool complex brings in families from Henderson, tourist traffic for swim meets, (i.e. money). These guests opt to stay in one of the newly renovated boutique hotels in downtown. Places as much about vintage charm as comfort.
Downtown is a historic hub centered around the Boulder Dam Hotel and museum; where you can enjoy a pasty or an amazing burger. But, wait, there’s more. New places are opening all the time. A deli and day spa — all sandwiched between the places we’ve loved for years: Browder Bookstore, Iron Rose Plant Shop, Soda at the Nest, My 4 Sons, The Flying Saucer, Milo’s and Grandma Daisy’s.
If that’s not enough, you can visit Lake Mead (National Recreation Area), Hoover Dam, the Las Vegas Strip, Bootleg Canyon, Red Rock Canyon (National Conservation Area), Death Valley, Valley of Fire, Nelson ghost town and Grand Canyon (National Park). All are within a few hours.
Our little town has a lot to offer as a hub. All part of the rich environment that keeps you coming back year after year, either for something new or something familiar. That thing that feels like home, but maybe a little better.
This may not be the right vision for Boulder City. There are lots of different visions. The most important part is to not stop imagining and building.
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.
Alycia Calvert is a longtime Boulder City resident. She has lived here with her husband and children for the past 15 years. She will graduate with her Master of Fine Arts in May, and is excited to get more time for writing. She loves hiking, biking, kayaking, supporting Boulder City’s small business community and thinking weird wandering thoughts.