76°F
weather icon Clear

People should have say in fate of old water plant

For the last 37 years, one of the most beautiful brick buildings in Boulder City has remained vacant. The walls have been vandalized with satanic graffiti, the windows covered in plywood and the copper wire stripped from the electrical conduit by thieves.

The water treatment building has been a point of contention for Boulder City residents for decades. Some want the building to be repurposed as a coffeehouse, wedding venue, brewery or any number of uses. Others want the building to remain exactly as it is: boarded up and inactive, only to be admired from a distance but not accessible to the public.

The building itself is currently zoned C1 (neighborhood commercial), which would allow for many of the proposed uses. Despite many attempts from the private sector to reactivate and repurpose the building, the city has never taken the necessary steps to do so.

Recently, the city of Boulder City commissioned an independent consulting firm to analyze the surplus properties owned by the city and advise them on the highest and best uses. This report identified no suitable city uses for the water treatment building or surrounding site and recommended the city should consider repurposing the building to become an asset that could be enjoyed by the public.

Despite the constant debate over the future of the water treatment building, at no point has the city taken action to poll the residents of Boulder City to determine the will of the majority. Instead, Mayor Kiernan McManus has taken it upon himself to put forth a bill to rezone the land it sits on as a government park. Doing so would restrict most proposed uses and create a burden on the taxpayers of Boulder City in perpetuity.

Who will be voting on this decision? The mayor and four City Council members, two of whom were appointed and not elected. Instead of 16,000 Boulder City residents deciding the future of this beautiful building, the decision could be made by the mayor and two unelected officials.

Boulder City residents deserve to have a voice. Prior to any zoning changes, the residents have the right to proper representation on the issue.

Here’s what I propose.

Step 1: Vote. Let the residents vote on the following question: Should the water treatment building be repurposed? If the answer is yes, we move on to step 2. If the answer is no, the building can continue to sit vacant.

Step 2: Determine a use. The city must host a series of town hall meetings and workshops to determine a use that is suitable for the building and appropriate for the area.

Step 3: Lease the building. I agree with the consulting firm; the property should not be sold, but rather remain city-owned. Doing so offers an assurance that the building is protected and can never be torn down or modified in any way that is not approved by the city.

Bringing the building to a leasable state will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 million. A scenario where both the city and the tenant contribute a sum of money toward the improvements would be mutually beneficial and financially justifiable as the city would be receiving a substantial return on investment. A lease rate of $10,000-$15,000 per month is plausible, which equates to $120,000-$180,000 per year in additional revenue for the city.

As a park, the water treatment building would cost the city money to maintain in perpetuity.

Repurposing the water treatment building would draw visitors to our town, help local businesses and bring energy, jobs and tremendous revenue to Boulder City.

Thirty-seven years ago the water treatment building was abandoned. As a city we can either bring the building back to life or leave it boarded up as it continues to die a slow death. I encourage you to email your mayor and city council and be present at the Feb. 11 City Council meeting.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Smart development key to sustainable future

I commend my friend and colleague Mayor (Kiernan) McManus for his comments in the Boulder City Review on Sept. 1 regarding his focus on conservation to best serve the residents of Boulder City. Together, our cities have a long-standing commitment to conservation and sustainability.

Solutions to nation’s woes just take action

What if you had solutions to a multitude of problems? Would you share what you knew or would you hesitate because the facts were contrary to the status quo?

Terrorists killed more than people

Sept. 11 changed us. And not necessarily for the better.

Dont let city become ‘Pothole Paradise’

Two years ago at a public event, a friend got in my face and in an uncharacteristic, agitated voice said, “Fix my street!” Initially I thought he was joking. But after two attempts to change the subject, I realized he wasn’t laughing.

Court of public opinion too quick to judge

Most people know me for my former Throwback Thursday columns with the Boulder City Review and some people may know of me from my failed run for City Council. What people don’t know, however, is that I used to work for actor Johnny Depp through a contract I had running events at multiple properties on the Las Vegas Strip. I was Mr. Depp’s private dining planner for all of his Las Vegas trips, including events with his family.

Relax, it’s Labor Day

Monday is Labor Day, and it’s somewhat ironic that a day devoted to celebrating the American workforce is a day that most of us strive to do anything but work.

Options for conservation must be explored

Fall weather will be a welcome change in the next few weeks, it has been a hot summer. Some of the hottest temperatures on record for Southern Nevada. And most of those records have been over the past few years. We can look at the changes in water levels at Lake Mead and know that things are very different from any other time in our lifetimes.

Agostini, Eagles Closet help those in need

Since the new school year began at the beginning of the month, students and staff members at Boulder City High School have made a variety of changes to help ensure their health and welfare in the wake of COVID-19.

Water’s low cost makes it expendable

Water is essential to life. Humans and every living species can go without many things but not without water; yet many take water for granted. We water our lawns, fill our swimming pools, wash our cars, take long showers, hose down our driveways and rarely even think about the costs involved. Why? Because water is too convenient and, most importantly, inexpensive.

City long devoted to conservation, environmental issues

The water level at Lake Mead fell to 1,068 feet in July 2021. That is the lowest level since the lake was first filled following the Hoover Dam’s dedication in 1935. This month, the federal government has declared a water shortage on the Colorado River for the first time, triggering cutbacks in water allocations to surrounding states from the river.