LAUGHLIN — The Laughlin Town Advisory Board took the first step toward repair projects on Casino Drive when it recommended approval a $60,000 appropriation from the Fort Mohave Valley Development Fund for use toward “wet infrastructure.”

At August’s LTAB meeting, board members discussed the need for water and sewer infrastructure in the area south and west of Harrah’s Laughlin to Needles Highway. The board has been mulling its options for the last 10 months.

The $60,000 will go toward appraisal of the land, including existing buildings and infrastructure, the first step in the process of getting water and sewer infrastructure installed to improve development in that stretch of Casino Drive.

Clark County Chief Financial Officer Jessica Colvin was in attendance at the meeting and gave a dissertation on the ways and means that the project might be accomplished. She stated there are three areas of concern to accomplishing the task. The first is concentration. There are 19 parcels of land in that area belonging to nine owners. If even one says no, then the project stops right there.

The necessary improvement district assessment must be paid by all of them. Also if over 50% of the owners oppose it then the Clark County Board of Commissioners can’t move forward. Another issue is that three of the parcels are worth less in taxable value than the SID assessment for the project. The value of the properties must be three times more than the assessment and three of them fall short of that. Also, there must be an appraisal both before and after the improvements. The initial appraisal is what was on the table for the LTAB to approve. The booard voted 4-0 to get that started 4-0. 

The county will be sending out a survey to the parcel owners about the assessment. If all goes according to plan, then $800,000 would be the cost for the water, sewer and streetwork infrastructure down from just past Harrahs south to where such infrastructure already exists on the west end of Casino Drive just east of the Bayshore Inn where the Centurylink building is. Beyond that going west, infrastructure already is in place all the way to Gilligan’s on Neeedles Highway. 

The area is large enough that it does leave a big undeveloped stretch on the Nevada side of the river; the Arizona side is developed all the way down.

Another big-ticket item concerned getting Housing and Urban Development money for community improvement projects. Those include a new senior center, health center or youth center — or a combination. The only way Laughlin qualifies for HUD funds is based on what is called presumed benefit as Laughlin does not have enough low-income residents to qualify in other categories — slum/blight or urgent need.

There also is the possibility of obtaining a Community Development Block Grant, which become available every five years. The funds could be used to build a new senior center in  Laughlin, which could facilitate Spirit Mountain Activity Center going under control of the Boys & Girls Club of the Colorado River’s Laughlin branch, one of the occupants at Spirit Mountain Activity Center along with Clark County Parks and Recreation

Board member Kathleen Whitehead, who said she uses Spirit Mountain frequently, said she would like to see a fitness center added at either Spirit Mountain or in a new facility for the seniors to keep in shape. She said that a swimming pool also would be a good idea. 

Clark County Parks & Recreation representative Richard deClercq said that if such a new building were built, Parks & Rec could have new administrative offices in it ; he said the department is out of space in its current location.

LTAB member Nile Smith suggested building a new senior center by the existing community pool in Laughlin to achieve access to water workouts for seniors. Whitehead noted that the pool is usable for only part of the year and, as such, building a lap pool inside a new building would allow for year-round water exercise for seniors.

DeClercq pointed out that a previous bid for upgrading and improving the existing Spirit Mountain Activity Center came back at $6 million, and that plan came back as “ineligible” for grant funding.

Another issue is adding a community kitchen to any new senior center. The Nevada State Health Department has strict guidelines for kitchen workers. 

LTAB member and longtime resident James Maniaci said that he “was in favor of adding a gym to Spirit Mountain, but limited parking space at the activity center is such that I now see building a new senior center by the existing pool as the way to go.” 

The LTAB agreed to that proposal 4-0. 

Board members said the new building might be funded as a capital improvements project through Clark County Parks and Recreation.

The LTAB then took up the issue of top 10 budget requests for the 2021 budget. They included updating the media cart at the Laughlin civic building where the meetings take place and the town manager’s office is located. Another request is re-paving the parking lot of the community center behind the fire station. Smith brought up the request for upgrading the crosswalks along Casino Drive which, as he put it, now are home to dead plants and trash that accumulates in the existing planters.

“This issue is not going to go away and we must address it at some point,” Smith said.

Another request by Smith was for a cemetery on the Laughlin side of the river. 

He said, “We need a cemetery so we don’t have to export our dead.”

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