As a resident of Boulder City since 1965 I have seen our town evolve into a place that I will always call my hometown.When I first arrived there were no restaurants, no supermarkets and no recreation center. The Coffee Cup served Chinese food and the Frosty Freeze was a local hangout for the youth of our town. Fortunately, there was no speed limit between Boulder City and Henderson so most recreation and shopping was done over the hill.
In those early years I taught math and science at the high school and there were many complaints about the lack of services due to the small size of our town. There was no concern about restricting growth until the realization that water and electricity rates would be impacted as the town population increased.
In 1979, a push for slowing growth was supported by a majority of the citizens and the controlled growth ordinance was passed. For years we had one of the lowest rates for electricity in the country due to our proximity to Hoover Dam. An added benefit was the protection we received from the enormous Clark County growth in the ’80s and ’90s up until the housing bubble burst in 2008.
I have always been a supporter of our growth ordinance and have been asked, at times, by other townspeople how we legally enforce it. We are unique because the city owns the land and the citizens have controlled its use to make Boulder City a town I am proud to live in.
But times have changed and so have I. Increased growth no longer means increases in utility rates, we are no longer threatened by the growth in Clark County and Interstate 11 is coming fast. I am looking forward to the reduced traffic by my house and through town. I am looking forward to a quieter and slower Boulder City but I do not want to see our schools and businesses decline.
The possibility of boarded-up and deserted buildings on the edge of town is something I do not want to see. Because of these coming changes I am now in favor of encouraging residential growth.
Most of the articles I read in the Boulder City Review are concerned with removing or exceeding our 3 percent growth rate. As we never reached our growth cap during the boom years I am concerned that we may not be able to reach a growth rate that would help our community through these changing times.
Hindsight has shown us that we were absolutely correct in protecting our town from unrestricted growth but that success should not blind us to the possibility that changing times may require a change in our thinking. Instead of fearing growth, I believe at this time we should be actively encouraging residential housing in anticipation of the completion of I-11.
Any decisions made by the City Council or the citizens of Boulder City will take years to implement so an open discussion needs to begin as soon as possible.