I’ve been sharing this link to the Hoover Dam Gateway plan (http://www.bcnv.org/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_04192017-386) on Facebook. It points to the April 19 Planning Commission agenda packet. To read the plan, you must go to page 113, since it is not a single document.
Few people attend the Planning Commission meetings, yet there’s a “buzz” about the plan on social media. Seemed logical that this document would be posted on the web and shared with the public through some city source. This wasn’t done.
I won’t speculate on why the plan wasn’t publicized. What I can say, based on my personal experience, is that this draft of the plan was one of many documents in agenda packets on the web going ignored and unshared with not only citizens but city staff as well.
Sharing is a good thing. Sharing public information is even better, but we’re not going to discuss public information today. Moving on.
I wanted to know why the Hoover Dam Gateway plan wasn’t a stand-alone document on the website. I exchanged emails with the city clerk on July 5 regarding posting this document. She said she would discuss the subject at the July 10 staff meeting. The city clerk got back to me on July 10. She discussed having the plan posted on the website and said: “I believe (Special Projects Coordinator) Brok (Armantrout) will create the link on the website once approval is provided by (interim Community Development Director) Bryce (Boldt) and (Acting City Manager) Scott (Hansen).”
So, what’s the big deal? I believe it is imperative for everyone to know what is in this plan and form a factual opinion regarding the possible adoption and incorporation into the land management plan.
Read the plan carefully. What is being proposed and how much will it cost? Discuss the contents with others who have read the plan. What do they think? Does the plan benefit or harm Boulder City businesses and residents?
There is a considerable amount of material in the document, but I’m going to focus on the two following sentences from page 13 in the chapter: Highway/Interstate Relocation History Lessons — Route 66: “The cities that remained successful after the bypass or realignment of Route 66, had something, other than they were located on the Route, that made them successful. People went to those cities for a purpose.”
This short history lesson is one way to view the plan. Are you concerned about the effects of Interstate 11? Does the plan merit implementation or not?
In 1995, all I knew about Boulder City was its proximity to Hoover Dam and its incorporation date was 1960. I began running a bakery and restaurant with my husband on June 2, 1995. I considered it very profitable for us if six tourists a week came to our place. There was even a local business owner in 1995 who advocated against outside dining.
Well, sidewalk dining is here. Tourists stroll our downtown and walk adjacent streets admiring the historic homes. “No Vacancy” signs appear at the Boulder Dam Hotel and motels around town.
Community events flourish, even though Boulder City’s population grows very little. According to U.S. Census data, our population increased from 14,966 in 2000 to an estimated 15,689 in 2016, so tourists, in fact, visit Boulder City.
I am not naïve to believe just because we “have something,” people will visit. I spent years as the city’s public information officer trying every way I knew to promote this town as a tourist destination. I was “rewarded” by having my position eliminated in 2010. Yet some of the marketing worked.
Boulder City can remain a small town and succeed because it does “have something” that other cities don’t. Boulder City can thrive despite I-11. New office, research, data and technology areas described in the plan are redundant when space is available in Boulder City proper.
As you read the plan, consider whether Boulder City needs the development and financial responsibility proposed, including a hotel with a conference center and various restaurants to serve the businesses in the area. Would new development give Boulder City that “something” that attracts visitors?
Residents must educate themselves, question proposals such as the Hoover Dam Gateway project, demand accountability and clarity from the City Council, share information and facts in regular public meetings, shop locally and work to support true transparency, not mere lip service, when the issue of modifying Boulder City’s “something” is at stake.