Historic Boulder City can be viewed from many perspectives. For the past year this column has focused on those celebrating its historic assets.
Perhaps it is time to consider the present. What do we see? Three closed and boarded-up businesses and a fourth, still open for business, with a board over the large front window, waiting for repair — two in the Arizona Street business district, one at the corner of Nevada Way and Wyoming Street, one at the junction of U.S. Highway 93 and Nevada Way.
What is a visitor to historic Boulder City to think? What are Boulder City residents to think?
This state of affairs certainly supports those who take a pessimistic view of what the future holds once the bypass is completed. And for those who take an optimistic view, get ready to go to work! The city lost the historic Six Cos. hospital to a sale and demolition because most of the community was not aware of what was happening until it was too late.
To be successful, an enterprise or special interest group must be proactive. It is clear that the party who apparently benefited from the sale of the historic hospital was extremely strong and proactive, but why wasn’t there a group or organization in Boulder City working proactively, with strength, on other options when it became apparent that the hospital property was becoming a major problem?
No one wants Boulder City to become a sad, failed little community that dies for lack of ambition and foresight. And, in that regard, City Hall has done much to enhance the entrance into the city and there is undoubtedly more planned to keep visitors on U.S. 93, traveling forward into the city. However, upon their arrival, travelers should be met with an attractive, vibrant business district. Closed, boarded-up businesses would certainly do a great deal to detract from that expectation.
But, the question then becomes: Who can reconcile the problem that led to the closing of Scratch House and the stalled restoration of the Browder Building? What local construction company can work with the owner to repair the large front window of the Hyde Real Estate building, which was damaged when the canopy over the window collapsed two months ago? How does Boulder City entice another business to occupy the space left by the closing of the Haggen supermarket? Who can encourage antique markets to make their sidewalk displays attractive and inviting (which many are, of course)?
There are so many ambitious, talented, experienced, connected people in Boulder City. Add courageous to that list of attributes and, along with concern, commitment and strength, there is little doubt some can effectively work with the Boulder City Historic Preservation Committee, the Chamber of Commerce, and private ownership interests to make the city a lively, attractive travel destination, as well as an object of pride to its residents.
The Boulder Dam Hotel has recently been the recipient of such an effort by supporters of the hotel; the exterior of the hotel has been repaired and repainted.
Sometimes it is necessary to look at things critically, and from a different perspective, in order to see them clearly. Boulder City should think of its future in terms of the realities of the present as an expression of its historic heritage and know that the heritage of which it is so proud will be preserved when there is concern and commitment within the community.
— Susan Stice McIntyre is a native of Boulder City, a first-generation 31er, and former member and chairman of the Boulder City Historic Preservation Committee.