In the bingo game that is Mayor Carolyn Goodman’s annual State of the City address, there are a few spots you can daub before play begins. She’s certain to talk longer than her appointed hour; to spend at least five to eight minutes insisting that she’s going to run long; and to invoke The Oscar. (As in, “My husband always says ‘This is the best job in the world,’” or something along those lines.) But Goodman’s 2018 address took some unexpected turns—a reflection of a city experiencing a period of explosive growth to rival the Downtown Project land rush of several years back.
This time, however, it wasn’t talk of the Fremont East Entertainment District that dominated the evening. “We are alive in Symphony Park,” Goodman said, noting that a number of its land parcels that had been tied up in failed recession-era deals are now freed for development. Coming to the neighborhood are large mixed-use housing and retail projects; a new 1,000-space parking garage; a new resort from the D’s Derek Stevens, the only hotel-casino planned for Symphony Park; and expansions of current area tenants World Market Center, Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and Las Vegas Premium Outlets North. (The proposed Art Museum didn’t come up, but Goodman seemed to nod to it, calling Symphony Park “an artist’s palette.”)
Goodman talked up the emerging Medical District—a new medical school campus for UNLV, a possible tower for UMC and a proposed parking garage to serve “the many new medical offices, support businesses and the beginning of apartments and residential growth.” She promised striking new way-finding signs for Downtown, including one that seemingly replaces the awful Pepto-Bismol-colored banner at Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. And she hinted that the Atomic Testing Museum, currently located near UNLV, might find its way to Downtown’s Cultural Corridor.
It’s almost too much. Downtown is happening so quickly that it’s tempting to feel impatience for the things Goodman cannot promise, at least not yet: light rail, more/bigger city parks, and a comprehensive solution to help Downtown’s homeless population. But nevertheless, there’s a lot of good things happening at once. Free spaces or not, Goodman earned that bingo.