The Dichotomy of Urban Revitalization

I have been woefully absent from my blog about getting your agency organized. So I’ll get right on that – tomorrow.

Today is Sunday, so I’m writing about something else. Weekends are good for My Opinions, and since I live in Las Vegas, I’ll write about My Opinion On Something Happening In Las Vegas.

I’m all about revitalizing the core of our city. I miss having what I had ‘back home’ in Portland (Oregon). A Vibrant City. With shops, restaurants, offices, awesome mass transit, art galleries, cool-hip-bars, brew-pubs, live music (where bands get paid – but that’s for a different post), and a feeling that, “yeah, this is a cool place to live and work.”

Portland was in a sad place in the late sixties/early seventies. Then, one day, the restrictions of urban growth boundaries pushed the revitalization of the core. Portland also had to take into consideration, and work with the displacement of the businesses and residents who couldn’t pay a few-hundred-grand for a place to live and work.

It is inclusiveness that I’m looking for. Revitalization shouldn’t be an endeavor to create an exclusive area reserved for only those who are looking to sanitize first, then layer on that patina of edgy-hip urban decay and call it done. I hope this isn’t where the Downtown Project is headed.

Where am I going with this? Well that link above is to an article in the Las Vegas Review Journal that had the good sense to put the story on the front page of the Sports Section of the Sunday Edition.

You see, there are things that happen when revitalization takes place. Some of the good stuff goes away, because it doesn’t fit in. Or maybe the clientele isn’t exactly the market you’re going for. I’m talking about North Las Vegas Center Ring Boxing which has been at 1020 Fremont Street for the past three years.

I read the story and was inspired. And exasperated. The owner of the facility has been helping kids – all kinds of kids – with back-stories most of us can’t imagine, and getting them back on track. Yeah boxing. A place to go, organized, supervised and a big dose of mentoring for these kids in need. That mentor, who is also the owner, is Jose Banales. He is grateful the Downtown Project has allowed him to stay in the building – which is slated for their development – but time is running out.

Here’s is the part of the article that really gets my goat:
“His [Banale’s] building is among those targeted by the Downtown Project, a revitalization plan that has allocated $350 million to the vision of “empowering people to follow their passions to create a vibrant, connected urban core.”

Well said. Now tell me where a facility that helps kids isn’t part of a “vibrant, connected urban core.”

I’m not a hater of the Downtown Project at all. This city is in dire need of a ‘city’. I love their mission. A real city needs to include the people who make a difference and make it a community.

So help me understand how of this fits together.

Or better yet, contact Jose Banales and donate, help him get a grant, write a letter to the city to designate his facility as a Youth Center rather than a Gym (evidently this makes a whole lot of difference when getting funding); or maybe let the folks at the Downtown Project know that a vibrant urban core includes kids who have a place to go (and people who care) that will change their lives.

Contact Jose Banales at: or 702-335-0571. Or go to their website:

Please note that I am referencing an article in the Sunday, August 04, 2013 edition of the Las Vegas Review Journal written by Ed Graney. I must make sure I give credit to the RJ because they are sticklers for these things!