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July 22, 2014

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North Las Vegas throws out bids on project to raze vacant apartments

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Leila Navidi

North Las Vegas wants to tear down this vacant apartment complex, which has long been an eyesore in the community.

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North Las Vegas Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown during a meeting at the North Las Vegas City Hall on Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2011.

The abandoned, boarded-up Buena Vista Springs Apartments in North Las Vegas will stand for at least a little while longer.

The North Las Vegas City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday to reject all construction company bids it received to raze the blighted apartment complex located on Martin Luther King Boulevard and Cary Avenue. The apartments have long been an eyesore and source of contention for area residents, a boulder standing in the way of the aging community’s plans for revitalization.

The residents’ representative, Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown, wants the apartments gone too, but she also knows the demolition needs to be done right. To do that, they need more bids than what they received.

“Hopefully, we’ll get more qualified bids on the project,” Goynes-Brown said. “So we get the best bang for our buck.”

The dilapidated apartment complex has long been a problem for the aging North Las Vegas community, North Valley Community Leadership team member Toni Thornton said. Before the state ruled the building unfit to live in, it had been a hotbed for gangs and criminal activity. When the tenants cleared out, it became a source of blight, with broken windows and graffiti.

Thornton and members on the leadership team have been working with Goynes-Brown and the city for the past five years to demolish the buildings, facing roadblock after roadblock.

“When I came on to the council, it’s been an ongoing issue with the property. The buildings are old and inhabitable,” Goynes-Brown said. “They needed to be torn down, so it’s been an ongoing project for a lot of years.”

The city has cleaned up the vandalism and boarded the windows, but they are still blocking potential plots of land residents hope can be used for banks, day care centers, and other and local businesses.

“Right now they’re a hazard, a big hazard,” Thornton said. “As soon as they’re torn down and redevelopment is going on, I’ll feel a whole lot better.”

Goynes-Brown said demolishing the buildings isn’t as simple as strapping on dynamite and pressing a button. The process has required waiting for federal funding, cleaning out the mold, asbestos and other harmful toxins in the building and finding the right bid.

Goynes-Brown said the city received only a few initial bids, with wildly varying cost estimates. The council rejected the current bids to give the city more time to receive more bids and find the best deal available.

Thornton sat through the vote on Wednesday more to make sure the city keeps moving toward demolition, than to fight another inevitable delay. At this point, residents and Goynes-Brown can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Goynes-Brown is optimistic a bid can be accepted in a month, and the buildings demolished by January or February.

Goynes-Brown says delaying the detonation just a little bit longer is worth the wait.

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