Keeping Up With Henderson

Photos Courtesy of the City of Henderson

Photos Courtesy of the City of Henderson

With 57 parks and counting, and at least six parks and trails projects under way or nearing construction in Henderson, Nev., residents and officials in nearby parks and recreation agencies are scratching their heads wondering where the funding comes from. Over the last few years, Henderson has relied on two primary sources—the federal government and developers. 

To date, the city has been awarded more than $238 million for 35 parks and trails projects. The funding was received from the Bureau of Land Management through the sale of public lands as authorized by the Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act (SNPLMA). 

SNPLMA is unique because it sets a standard for cooperative conservation, providing for the sale of certain federal lands in Clark County and for acquiring environmentally sensitive lands. SNPLMA has two purposes: 

  1. To promote orderly development in the Las Vegas Valley
  2. To decrease the impact of urban growth on national recreation areas, such as Lake Mead National Recreation Area and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. 

When specific public lands are sold, funding is set aside so local agencies may submit projects for funding consideration. Project proposals must be detailed and fit within SNPLMA’s stringent parameters. 

Examples of projects that might qualify for SNPLMA funding are conservation and environmental-education initiatives on federal land, and the development of parks, trails, and natural areas in the county. Funding cannot be used for any other purposes or projects. 

Henderson Cashes In

City staff has been quite successful in receiving SNPLMA funding for several projects, including some of the newest and most popular parks, such as Hidden Falls Park, Reunion Trails Park, and Cornerstone Park. This funding has allowed the city to keep pace with growth, even when the economy slowed, beginning in 2008. 

When SNPLMA funding is granted, it comes with specific criteria, including a detailed account of how each dollar is spent and project updates to ensure a community knows what it’s getting. Each project also has a funding expiration date; failure to complete a project on time means a return of funds. Henderson officials use this criterion to determine the order that parks and trails projects will be built. 

Under construction, SNPLMA-funded projects include the 11-acre Horizon Crest Park, which will feature public art, a playground, a basketball court, and a dog park. The park, which costs $4.5 million, is expected to be completed in summer 2013. The 5-acre Terrazza Park will feature a playground and a basketball court, while nearby Mountain Lake Park, also on 5 acres, will include bocce ball courts, a playground, and equestrian hitching rails and horse bibs.

PRB0814_Becker_Trails2Cornerstone Park, completed in May 2013, sits on 100 acres and includes a 31-acre lake (not intended for swimming), lighted basketball and volleyball courts, walking trails, exercise stairs, large pavilions with a catering kitchen, which can be reserved for special events and corporate functions. Funding of $16.4 million was received for the project. Future phases may include trail connections and a dog park if funding, perhaps through SNPLMA, can be realized. 

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