Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian has been selected to receive the Distinguished Leadership-Elected Official award from the Nevada Chapter of the American Planning Association. The award is given to an elected official who has advanced or promoted the cause of planning. Councilwoman Tarkanian will receive the award during the annual conference taking place at Las Vegas City Hall today.
Councilwoman Tarkanian is being recognized for applying her considerable community experience to champion key planning initiatives such as expanding community outreach, improving neighborhoods, promoting sustainable practices and stimulating urban redevelopment.
To improve Ward 1 neighborhoods, Councilwoman Tarkanian served as a driving force in the City Council’s adoption of the Meadows Walkable Community Plan, which addresses elements such as safety, comfort and connectivity for residents while reducing dependency on transportation by car. She pushed to expand the plan boundaries to include a business corridor and sought to secure capital funds to implement the plan.
To foster urban redevelopment, Councilwoman Tarkanian is supporting efforts to create a medical tourism industry by expanding the Las Vegas Medical District near University Medical Center. She is collaborating with the city’s departments of Planning, Public Works and Economic and Urban Development to create a Medical Mile Plan to link the Medical District with the city’s downtown core. In addition, Councilwoman Tarkanian is deeply involved in the creation of a new redevelopment agency in the Charleston-Sahara corridors of her ward for the purpose of mitigating economic blight and encouraging reinvestment in current businesses.
Councilwoman Tarkanian is also deeply committed to the city’s sustainable living goals and policies. After the city obtained a Nevada Division of Forestry grant that provided 300 free trees, Councilwoman Tarkanian personally canvassed the Charleston Heights neighborhood, going door to door, to ask residents if they would want a tree planted on their property to re-establish the urban forest. She also solicited volunteers and participated in the activities.
Councilwoman Tarkanian also advocates the principles and application of good planning practices through many avenues; she believes that good land-use planning begins with neighborhood outreach and consensus building. From projects as small as a patio setback variance to as large as a new redevelopment plan, she insists that owners, developers and public agencies reach out to affected neighbors and businesses to both inform and solicit input. She was also instrumental in creating a partnership between the city’s fire department, the College of Southern Nevada (CSN) and the Clark County School District to blend a training center with a working city fire station. The center on the campus of CSN near Bonanza High School helps prepare future public safety officers of various types.