Rebirth of Historic Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS -- For years assumptions and stereotypes have crippled the historic west Las Vegas neighborhood. The once thriving black community of the early 1900's is now growing at a snail's pace.

The tight-knit community has overcome racial segregation and managed to build a strong sense of community. So, what's on the horizon to revive the area that's technically in the center of the Las Vegas valley?

"I know I can take an effort to get where I want to be for my goal," said 11-year-old Abron Javion Buchanan, a sixth grader at the 100 Academy of Excellence.

Buchanan and friends are mentoring with the 100 Black Men non-profit group. Teachers say education is the vehicle that will drive students to their destiny.

"Society has this viewpoint about them, that this is how they'll turn out, but I tell them this is not the truth," science teacher Shannon Guillory said.

Renovations are under way to remove blight in the community. It starts with the $10 million rehabilitation of the historic Westside School, where KCEP radio is now housed.

SLIDESHOW: Historic West Las Vegas

"It's just unspeakable the feeling that we all have to be on such historical land like this," KCEP manager Craig Knight said.

The school is on the National Register of Historic Places. Minority firm KME Architects designed energy efficient buildings, a museum, plush landscaping, office and retail space. It give 88.1 an even louder voice in the community.

"The radio station will still be a part of this campus and we see this campus as the gateway to the historical westside and also the hope of rebuilding," Knight said.

Ward 5 Las Vegas Councilman Ricki Barlow said it is just the beginning.

"I'm just really excited at all of the elements that are coming in," Barlow said. " ... To have an off ramp at Owens and I-15. That's a major project that I'm working on right now for this community which will now bring millions of motorists off I-15 who will no longer have to be trapped between Lake Mead and Washington."

Then there's the NDOT re-opening of F Street, giving the community walkable downtown access.

At Enterprise Park at the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Vegas Drive, new businesses are under construction and other businesses are relocating to the area.

Sanford World Clinics, a South Dakota non-profit that offers medical care, is one of the businesses moving into the business park.

These moves will give birth to a new era in central Las Vegas. It proves one thing to it's youngest members of the community. Today doesn't have to look like tomorrow.

Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly said $20 million has been allocated for the demolition of Buena Vista Springs apartments at the intersection of MLK Boulevard and Carey Avenue, known as one of the most dangerous corners in America. It's also the gateway to the historic west Las Vegas community.


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