Las Vegas Sun

October 21, 2019

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Where I Stand:

Henderson is reaping benefits of planning


Yasmina Chavez

Henderson Mayor Debra March gives her 2018 State of the City address at Green Valley Ranch Resort on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

As he does every August, Brian Greenspun is taking some time off and is turning over his Where I Stand column to others. Today’s guest columnist is Henderson Mayor Debra March.

Henderson prides itself on being a welcoming and economically vibrant community. Our motto, “a place to call home,” reflects our ability to provide the high quality of life that our 317,000 residents have come to expect.

While we are fortunate to enjoy a wide array of city amenities, we also recognize this was not achieved by chance. Henderson is a thriving community because of the visioning, planning and strategic investments that set the stage for the future.

Over the years, city leadership’s commitment to strategic planning has provided us with the opportunity to reach our goal of being “a premier community.” In support of this effort, last year the Henderson City Council and I completed a strategic planning update in which we identified our top five strategic priorities, which were community safety, economic vitality, livable communities, high-performing public service and quality education. Looking further down the road, we also oversaw the development of the Henderson Strong Comprehensive Plan, a citywide planning document that communicates the long-term goals and objectives that guide the physical development and orderly management of the growth of the city for the next 20 years.

Henderson’s residents lead regional lives, and the city’s success is tied to a strong Southern Nevada. For this reason, I have actively participated in such regional efforts as Southern Nevada Strong and the Regional Transportation Commission. I look forward to continuing my regional involvement with my recent appointment to the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance board.

Building on decades of strategic planning, investment and development, Henderson is now reaping the benefits of establishing a visionary plan and having the courage to stick to it. Our city is home to excellent schools, award-winning parks and trails, a strong and diversified economy, top-rated city staff and a community that is recognized as one of the safest in America. By taking the time to focus on strategic planning and making tough decisions, city leadership created the environment that led to a period of remarkable progress in Henderson that is being fueled by a renewed influx of residents, astonishing business growth and an entrepreneurial spirit that is bringing about many new opportunities. We are taking full advantage of these opportunities.

During the past two years, Henderson has focused on attracting and developing businesses across the city. Although a diverse group of companies have long called Henderson home, the Raiders’ decision to select Henderson as the location for their corporate headquarters and practice facility — which will bring in more than 250 permanent jobs and an investment of $150 million in its first phase — really grabbed everyone’s attention.

More recently, we approved the land deal that is bringing international machinery giant Haas Automation to west Henderson, along with 2,500 jobs with an average annual salary of $60,000. This was an important move for the city because as one of the world’s largest producers of machine tools, Haas is bringing an industry requiring a high skill level to our community and will work with our area colleges to develop programs that will enable locals to acquire the skills required by Haas. This type of investment in advanced manufacturing will be another game changer for our city and the region.

While we continue to encourage business growth, we also are ensuring there is diversity in the business sectors that we are attracting. Both are necessary to better weather inevitable economic downtowns. Examples of this diversity range from our agreement with Haas Automation, to becoming the new home of Google’s $600 million data center, which will employ up to 200 workers with an average annual salary of $65,000, nearly twice the average for Nevada workers, to making a strategic investment agreement with the Golden Knights to build a state-of-the-art ice arena in downtown Henderson that is spurring the revitalization of this historic area. By attracting these diversified industries to Henderson, we are further enhancing the city’s economic vitality and our quality of life.

A crucial factor in our ability to grow new business in Henderson is the agreement the city signed with NV Energy earlier this year. Through a partnership between the city and NV Energy, the company will invest $25 million in energy infrastructure in west Henderson. This strategic agreement ensures there will be sufficient power to accommodate the needs of all businesses and residences in this fast-growing section of the city. Through planning and laying the groundwork for future business growth in advance through the partnership with NV Energy, we have removed a significant obstacle to economic development in west Henderson.

In just the past year, more than 100 construction projects have taken place in Henderson, including corporate headquarters, medical parks, apartment complexes and factories. These companies are bringing jobs, investment and tax revenue that will be reinvested into enhancing public safety, supporting education and assisting with other Henderson priorities. The notable economic development we are enjoying supports the great quality of life we have in Henderson and enhances our reputation as one of the best places in the country to live, learn, work and play.

Our success in Henderson is contributing to the economic vibrancy of the entire region. Our impact in this regard is becoming increasingly evident as our success in attracting new businesses creates an economic ripple throughout the entire valley from the flow of dollars used by these businesses and their local employees to purchase goods and services. In addition, the arrival of an iconic industry leader like Google sends a strong signal to other organizations that Southern Nevada must be on their short list for establishing, expanding or relocating a business.

I believe in the successful economic blueprint the city of Henderson has developed through our strategic planning program and I am sure it is one from which all Southern Nevada will benefit.

Debra March was elected mayor of Henderson in April 2017 after serving as a city councilwoman since 2011.