Last night at the Henderson Democratic Club, Henderson Mayor Andy Hafen took questions from the audience on the current state of the city. He first described what's going right...
Then he arrived at the Chris Milam stadium scandal. Someone was bound to ask him about it. And surely enough, several did.
Here's how Hafen handled it.
Since the case is now in court, there's only so much Hafen and other city officials can now say. Still, that didn't stop Hafen from saying he still wants some kind of stadium on that land just south of The M. He thinks that the vacant site surrounded by open desert offers limitless possibilities. After all, it can have its own exit off The 15. And it won't be encumbered by the kinds of traffic snarls and other limitations of the other stadium proposals in more densely developed urban areas (UNLV, MGM, Caesars, and Downtown Las Vegas).
However, the stadium controversy wasn't the only issue on voters' minds last night. There were also questions on development. In particular, someone from Anthem asked about traffic along Eastern Avenue. Hafen replied that the city initially made a mistake in designating only one point of entry into (and exit from) Anthem & Madeira Canyon in Eastern Avenue, but that's being fixed with the expansion of Volunteer Road to The M and the possible new 15 exit at Cactus Avenue.
Just as he said at the local house party last month, Mayor Hafen said that the last 25 years of epic development in Henderson (and Clark County overall) have been a significant learning experience. Over time, the city has figured out good practices... And not so good practices. And that has allowed Henderson city government to improve, become more efficient, and become wiser in planning future growth.
Even with the recent recession and stadium turmoil, Henderson still has the healthiest finances of all the municipal governments in Southern Nevada. And the city has been able to achieve this, and potentially return from deficit to surplus by next year, without creating the kind of strife with public servants that we've seen elsewhere in Southern Nevada. Mayor Hafen was especially proud of these two achievements. And he's hopeful his record at City Hall will secure reelection this spring.
We'll have to wait and see what voters decide.