A very public olive branch: The city attempts to heal wounds during F Street reopening project

Reconnected: The residents of F Street celebrate the groundbreaking for the reopening of F Street earlier this year.
Photo: Leila Navidi

The official groundbreaking for the reopening of F Street was in May, so it was a little head-scratching to see images of Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman on-site last week, waving a checkered flag as a front loader passed by. But it turns out that it was just part of the milestone celebrations taking place as construction on the F Street project continues. A very public olive branch, if you will, handed from the city to the residents of the historically black neighborhood, which was literally cut off from the riches of Downtown revitalization in 2008 when F Street was replaced with a large concrete wall during a freeway widening project.

The reasons for the closure included concerns over heavy traffic on a residential street, but no matter how delicately packaged, the message seemed insulting. Residents spoke out, and a Nevada State Assembly bill passed in 2009 mandated that the street be reopened. To help heal the wound, the city—in conjunction with the Nevada Department of Transportation—reached out to area residents, inviting them to meetings regarding construction and design, resulting in an elegant gateway that directly connects the historic west side with the city’s future.

And so, four years later and with the $13.6 million project moving along in phases, we find the mayor celebrating a very public photo opp.

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Kristen Peterson

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