State senator vows to help owners of sinking homes in North Las Vegas
North Las Vegas resident Lydia Garrett points out the city’s failure to maintain the sinking Windsor Park neighborhood in 2019. (Photo: Dana Gentry)
State Sen. Dina Neal says she’ll ask the state to appropriate $10 million and the City of North Las Vegas for $20 million more to relocate any of 90 or so remaining residents of Windsor Park, a neighborhood of sinking homes that residents say has been forgotten by the City of North Las Vegas.
“I grew up knowing this story. I hadn’t even graduated from high school, and I knew my dad was here fighting for this issue,” Neal said of her father, former state Sen. Joe Neal, during a bill draft presentation Thursday on a bill draft to be introduced next week.
Windsor Park, a remnant of Southern Nevada’s segregated past, was once home to close to 300 predominantly Black families. In the 1980s the land beneath the homes near Martin Luther King and Carey, which were built on geologic fault lines, began to subside as the city extracted groundwater.
In the 1990s, North Las Vegas offered homeowners $50,000 to abandon their homes and relocate, a prospect that left some who had nearly paid off their properties to start over with new mortgages.
Eventually, the city prohibited residents from making improvements to their homes, worsening the neighborhood’s state of disrepair.
In 2019, then-Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown, now mayor of North Las Vegas, supported a plan to build warehouses on 86 acres adjacent to the sinking neighborhood, but backed off after neighbors protested.
“If the residents can’t build fences or add on to their properties, how can a developer build 1.6 million square feet of warehouse space?” Lydia Garrett, president of the North Valley Association, a neighborhood group that includes Windsor Park, asked at the time. “The City said at a meeting the water table has come back up. But they haven’t done a geological survey since 2014. How do they know it’s stable to build on?”
Goynes-Brown was not present at Thursday’s presentation.
“Whatever it takes, this particular elected leader will never leave you,” Neal told the residents.
Now, Windsor Park is reminiscent of a ghost town, with dilapidated structures, broken street lights, and garbage-strewn vacant lots.
“The city of North Las Vegas owns the empty lots. They don’t even come clean,” resident Pamela Neil said during the presentation. “There are homeless people moving trailers up there on the land that is deserted. North Las Vegas is not doing their job. We are paying taxes.”
“A possible solution would be relocation,” resident Webster Davis said Thursday. “We own huge lots. We would want to be relocated but with the same amount of property we have.”
Neal says she intends to work with the state housing division to work out a solution that would allow the neighbors to relocate to the same area.
“To have them scattered as happened in the 90s is not the goal and not the intent,” she said.
Latino families, desperate for affordable housing and unaware of the subsidence, have purchased homes in Windsor Park in recent years for as much as $350,000, according to Neal.
The city’s finance director, William Hardy, was unable to say how North Las Vegas has spent $14 million provided by the federal government to relocate residents.
Neal has turned to UNLV’s Boyd School of Law for assistance in making the Windsor Park residents whole. UNLV’s film school produced a ten-minute documentary that was shown at Thursday’s presentation.
“I am tired of trying to tell the story to a group of people who have forgotten these people, who don’t care that they are living in this condition, and who are waiting for them to die out,” Neal said, breaking down in tears during the presentation. “I tell you that I’m not leaving this building without a remedy for those families.”
“Is this a big ask?” Neal said. “Yes it is.”
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