A plan to build acres of industrial warehouse space adjacent to a long-neglected neighborhood of sinking homes has been scrapped by North Las Vegas City Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown.
Goynes-Brown previously supported the controversial plan to build on 86 acres near Windsor Park, a neighborhood built for African-American residents during the late stages of segregation in the 1960s.
For decades, residents have watched their homes crumble on land that is sinking. Most of Windsor Park’s 240 homes have been demolished or relocated to other property. Some 90 residents remain, living in an area that resembles a war zone more than a neighborhood.
“Since this item came before the Planning Commission, I’ve heard from the residents about their opposition to this project and I just agree with them,” said Goynes-Brown, who did not say what caused her change of heart, but says she’s expressed her concerns to the developer.
“I think one of the most important duties of an elected official is to represent his constituents and make decisions on shared input from numerous stakeholders,” she said. “Right now this is just something I’m not comfortable with. I don’t think it’s the right project for this neighborhood.”
Goynes-Brown, who was recently re-elected to her seat, addressed the city’s long-standing failure to maintain Windsor Park, where weeds grow through cracks in concrete sidewalks and trash litters vacant lots. She also committed to undoing a resolution passed in 1991 that has prohibited Windsor Park residents from making improvements or repairs to their property. The resolution was the result of a federal partnership to relocate residents whose homes were sinking.
“We need to fix that so our residents are able to make incidental repairs to their homes,” Goynes-Brown said.
The councilwoman praised the city for responding to her recent requests to address the city’s neglect of Windsor Park.
“We’ve had a fire hydrant repaired. We’ve removed abandoned vehicles. We’ve collected bags and bags of trash over the last few weeks,” she said, noting other issues still need to be addressed.
Goynes-Brown says she deeply troubled by real estate agents “who are not being transparent and aren’t disclosing the soil conditions of the land when people are looking to buy homes.
“That’s being deceptive. I want to make sure people who are coming in and flipping houses aren’t coming in and being deceptive with the public, just to make money.”
Goynes-Brown says she wants Windsor Park residents to be able to plan for their future. To that end she says she’s had conversations with Congressman Steven Horsford about reviving the federal government’s stalled process for assisting Windsor Park homeowners.
The federal government loaned millions of dollars in the 1990s to a North Las Vegas fund dedicated to helping the homeowners relocate.
Lalo Montoya, political director for Make the Road, an advocacy group that organized residents and others against the warehouse development, attributed Goynes-Brown’s change of heart to community involvement.
“Our activism shows the city council it can’t continue on with business as usual,” he said. “Our community is organized. We will be there to hold them accountable.”