Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011 | 10:42 p.m.
The North Las Vegas City Council tentatively approved spending $500,000 to develop a business-focused master plan to help convince companies to set up shop in the city.
Details of a contract with Gensler — an architecture and consulting firm that designed CityCenter for MGM Resorts International — must be worked out before the council votes on final approval.
The idea behind the agreement, officials said, is to create a clear, city-wide master plan that can be shown to Fortune 500 companies around the world to attract them to North Las Vegas.
Part of that contract will give officials renderings they can present to pique business interest in an area often overshadowed by Las Vegas and Henderson.
It’s a feasibility study, said Rob Cousins, senior associate for Gensler. Companies want to know if and why they should move to North Las Vegas, he said.
“A picture is worth a thousand words,” Cousins said. “If you give someone a written report, they won’t read it. If you give them 10 photos of what the city will look like...they get excited.”
The city council voted 4-1 to pursue a contract, with Mayor Shari Buck as the single dissenter. Buck called the proposal “a very pie-in-the-sky boondoggle.”
“Here we are, we’ve laid people off, closed our parks and recreation, we’ve closed our libraries and now all of a sudden we can find $500,000?” she said.
“I’m really surprised that this council is even considering this,” she said. “I’m very, very much against it.”
Buck also said she worried that the city hadn’t looked at other firms and selected Gensler without pursuing possibly cheaper options.
Councilman Richard Cherchio said the decision wasn’t reached “willy-nilly.”
“We can’t be fearful,” Cherchio said. “We have to start moving this city forward.”
The funds would be made available pending the council’s final approval of the contract, to be set at a later meeting.