As a kid growing up off Water Street in Henderson I could not have guessed that one day Water Street would be in need of a redevelopment movement let alone other areas of town. Yet here we are 40 years later with Henderson’s very own Redevelopment Agency (along with it’s advisory commission of which I have had the privilege of serving on for some 4 years now) working hard to revitalize Water Street and other areas of town.
The Redevelopment Agency oversees five redevelopment areas: Cornerstone, Downtown, Eastside, Lakemoor Canyon and Tuscany which are all in need of revitalization and reinvestment. I believe that when you ask most Henderson residents about redevelopment they only think about Downtown because that is what they have experienced in other cities. Let me assure you that the Redevelopment Agency has plans for all five areas.
In this post let us talk about the Downtown area and some of its history. You think you know the place you grew up very well, and, for all intents and purposes, Downtown has been the center of my world for my entire life. Yet, recently the Redevelopment Agency completed a self guided walking tour in Downtown (put this on your “Must-Do” list) which expanded my knowledge of my hometown. You learn that the area had Victory Theater (most of us met Santa Claus there), Basic High School started on Water Street, City Hall moved a few times and finally how Henderson itself was founded. To start the Walking Tour go to the front desk of the Henderson Convention Center at 200 S. Water Street and pick up the map. It is well worth the time!
As often happens when growth draws people and businesses away from the center of towns, these areas begin to decline. Henderson was no different. In 1985, the city fathers recognized the decline in some of the older neighborhoods and established the Redevelopment Agency. Keep in mind our town was only forty four years old at that time, this is on the young side in redevelopment circles and shows very progressive thinking on the part of the founding fathers (thank you Henderson City Council).
The Redevelopment Agency is currently updating the Downtown Investment Strategies creating the vision and a plan to bring a new vibrancy to both Downtown and the Water Street District. The vision is to enhance the residential, visitors and business experiences by creating an authentic hometown feel. The plan: adopt rules, regulations and incentives that support projects (both new and existing) that create great community gathering spaces, retail opportunities and new residential product types that support the vision. I have intentionally simplified our plan, but you are encouraged to go to http://www.cityofhenderson.com/redevelopment_agency and read it for yourself.
Beginning July 1, 2013, the Redevelopment Agency began offering a Residential Assistance Program; it’s a financial assistance program for homeowners and tenants interested in improving the exterior of their home. The program grants money to sustain property conditions and values, and requires property owner participation through a financial contribution. Again you can find out more information regarding the Residential Assistance Program on the website.
The Redevelopment Agency also has several programs to help existing businesses through the Façade Improvement Program, Tenant Improvement Grant, Sign Grants and so on. These programs are a way to encourage existing businesses to stay in a redevelopment area or to encourage new business growth in the area.
Also, developers interested in building in a redevelopment area may request assistance from the Redevelopment Agency through the Development Assistance Program. Assistance varies and is custom-tailored to each project. Interested developers can begin the process by submitting an application and required supporting documentation to the agency.
As you can see the Redevelopment Agency has many tools designed to promote the health and the revitalization of the Downtown Area. The area has many success stories to build on and with the new policies coming on line the future looks great!
To find out about all the available programs and general questions please call the Redevelopment staff at (702)267-1515.