Friday, Jan. 29, 2010 | 6 a.m.
Change is rarely easy. But Katherine Duncan knows it’s necessary.
The president of the Ward 5 Chamber of Commerce sees potential in an impoverished area of Las Vegas that holds some rare historic gems. And she’s doing everything she can to not only revitalize a crippled neighborhood, but to also get the message out to the world about its unique history.
“Ward 5,” whose boundaries are Bonanza Road, Lake Mead Boulevard and A and H streets, has a high number of churches and ties to Las Vegas’ black history, Duncan said.
She sees these traits as opportunities to take advantage of a growing religious tourism market. Duncan created the Ward 5 Chamber in 2007 and currently houses its offices at 1001 F Street. Built in 1942, the 1,700-square-foot home used to house black entertainers when they came into town for performances, Duncan said.
“It’s just this old house on the Pioneer Trail. I believe it should help us attract a new kind of tourist to Las Vegas,” she said.
Duncan has been holding weekly neighborhood meetings to help community members create a vision for the area’s future. She also attends City Council meetings and has the ear of city redevelopment officials. In 2010, the chamber will renovate its office to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) standards.
“We want this house to be a model for other homeowners in the area to see what they can do with their homes,” she added.
By Brian Sodoma, Contributing writer