Las Vegas Sun

December 21, 2014

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City adopts plan for new museum

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Henderson's vision for a proposed museum district on a 160-acre site on Galleria Drive near U.S. 95 began to solidify Tuesday night.

The City Council voted 3-0 to adopt a tentative framework for the museum and the land around it, which the city hopes to develop into a new civic center that will combine residential, retail and public uses.

The visioning book is only a guide, Henderson Assistant Community Development Director Eddie Dichter said, and permanent decisions about zoning and design standards will be made later on.

"It provides guidance to city staff now to move forward with that project," he said.

The visioning book includes a suggested master plan that shows the museum at the center of the 160 acres, surrounded by parks, restaurants and other entertainment establishments.

On the north side of the area, it shows two residential districts — a mixed-use residential district that would combine shops and homes and a medium-density residential neighborhood. The south side of the site, along Galleria Drive, would have office and retail uses.

The site layout could change as city planners work on a permanent master plan, however.

City planners are working on design and landscaping guidelines for the site, Dichter said, and once those are in place, will turn its attention to land use.

"Once you do that, now you have something that a developer can work with moving forward," he said.

In December, an outside consultant concluded a study of almost two years that evaluated the feasibility of building a museum in Henderson. It concluded that a science and technology museum, focusing on Southern Nevada's unique history and built with interactive exhibits catering to children, could be a successful and welcome addition to the community.

The study projected the cost of building the museum at $61 million and its annual operating expenses at about $6.4 million.

Though Henderson owns the land and would likely help fund the museum's construction, city officials have said the fundraising effort and the museum's day-to-day operation would be handled by third parties.

The city doesn't plan to commit any funds to the effort for at least two years, staff members said, and maybe longer if the economy doesn't rebound soon.

In approving the visioning book, the City Council also authorized city staff to seek potential partners for the venture.

Jeremy Twitchell can be reached at 990-8928 or [email protected].

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