LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – The booming corridor of Chinatown keeps attracting more local businesses and tourism, and local leaders are looking to clean up debris, dilapidated buildings and “eyesores” across the area.
Chinatown’s reclassification as a “redevelopment area” could allow local property taxes to assist businesses with payments for repairs, construction and development. Funds could also be diverted to sidewalk and road improvements.
County officials said Chinatown was one of five areas proposed to become redevelopment areas.
A Clark County-sponsored study highlighted 77 acres of Chinatown that meet criteria for the state definition of “blight”: empty lots, trash, and vacant buildings.
Officials described some of the problematic areas as older and aging, lacking solutions for years.
“The point of this redevelopment agency expansion is to have some additional tools to work with those property owners to improve their properties,” said Commissioner Justin Jones.
That allows us to go to those property owners and use some of the property tax dollars that would otherwise go into the county’s General Fund to try and provide some resources to them. That might be something simple, like some landscaping improvements, or sidewalk improvements in front of their properties,” he said. Developing a pedestrian crosswalk between the biggest shopping centers on Spring Mountain Road is one of the major priorities.
Jones said the county could even buy the property from the owners, and work with a developer to launch a project.
The Clark County Redevelopment Agency also oversees these projects. Director of Operations Shani Coleman, who also serves as the county’s director of economic development, explains how funds can spur new development or redevelopment.
“Maybe there’s a big developer that comes in and they have a really big project that they need some help getting over their finish line. The board can make a decision to do something like a public-private partnership,” Coleman said. Funds can also help businesses convert their properties to align with popular concepts like “sidewalk cafés,” promoting walkability.
State law does allow for the possibility of eminent domain as a last resort for problem properties within redevelopment areas. Coleman said that is not an option that local leaders are pursuing.
“We really try to use the the ‘carrot’ approach where we incentivize, and we make it help them see the benefit to doing improvements,’” Coleman said.
The proposal for a redevelopment area is subject to public notices. Jones said, if all gets approved, the classification could be effective sometime in Spring 2024.
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