MVRP Discusses Funding For Downtown Revitalization

Board members of the Moapa Valley Revitalization Project (MVRP) met with community members and downtown Overton business owners on Thursday, Aug. 28 at the Old Logandale School to discuss and draw attention to the need for change in the community. The project is geared toward obtaining federal and state grant money to help in improving and updating the downtown Overton business district.
MVRP board member Ron Casey said that, while similar efforts have been made many times in the past, “today is a new day.”
“We’re looking forward with new eyes,” he said.

Casey explained that the improvement project is twofold. The first aspect is streetscape improvements which involves things done within the highway right-of-way. The second part of the project is on community beautification regarding thematic improvements to private property along Overton’s main street.
Casey stated that the MVRP will be seeking federal grant money which is channeled through the county. He said that a recent survey revealed that Moapa Valley, including Overton and Logandale, are among the rural communities eligible for federal grant funding. But that area of eligibility is awkwardly split and is in need of clarification, Casey said.

Another funding option involves a federal Transportation Alternatives Program that is based on income in the area, he said.
Casey said that the way federal funding typically works is on an 80/20 scale where the government will provide 80 percent of the project funding and will expect the community to supply the remaining 20 percent. However he said that the remaining 20 can be additional grant funding that would equate to a 100 percent funded revitalization project. That is what the MVRP is seeking.
Casey said that while Moapa Valley has previously labeled itself as a gateway to Lake Mead and a recreation area in relation to the lake, changes are becoming necessary as the lake continues to recede.

“Overton needs federal funding to reinvent itself,” he said.

He explained that the reinvention could possibly include an architectural theme throughout the downtown area. The MVRP would like the community and business owners to have input regarding design ideas as well as pointing out potential problems such as parking situations, Casey said.

Casey had researched several successful community revitalizations in various places. Each of these had started a trend of increased revenue for businesses and decreased vacancies in downtown buildings.
Casey said that items of interest that could potentially be funded as part of a streetscape include additional crosswalks between Maverik and Inside Scoop. According to Casey, the improvements could also include shaded benches and even possibly solar powered, cooled water fountains to create a “pedestrian friendly area to walk around in.”
Other items mentioned included include tour bus turnouts and planter boxes with low maintenance, natural vegetation.

But Casey emphasized that the process would need much more involvement from downtown business owners than it currently has. Only about 15 people were in the audience. He invited business owners to join with the committee to begin discussing details.
“It’s a big job and it literally can’t be done without the buy-in of the business owners,” Casey said.

This article first appeared in the Moapa Valley Progress Newspaper Online and in Print. Re-posted here with permission from the author.

By WESLIE GRAHAM

Moapa Valley Progress