For the next four weeks, 8 News Now Good Day is in your neighborhood profiling different parts of the Las Vegas valley.
For years, business leaders along Maryland Parkway have tried to change the area’s perception. Now, that change may finally be happening.
It’s a spine of road running north and south through the center of Las Vegas. Maryland Parkway is often part of a story we do on a crime or an accident.
While your impression of this part of the valley may be one thing, there are plenty of people devoted to Maryland Parkway with a different point of view.
“There might be a perception that it’s a bad area,” said UNLV senior Ronnie Gonzalez. “But it’s not.”
“From the restaurants to the clothing shops, the music. It’s actually a really nice place. It gets forgotten,” said Alexia Zilliken, UNLV senior.
Zilliken and Gonzalez are seniors at UNLV.
That makes Maryland Parkway part of everyday life. And they want you to remember, it didn’t always look this way.
They’re part of a the pulse of the Parkway Project.
Students documenting the way things were and the way they are on Maryland Parkway.
“Nobody talks about it other than as a street you go down to get somewhere else,” Zilliken said.
There’s no doubt it’s changed. UNLV used to be on the parkway and almost by itself. Today, it’s one of the centers of new growth.
“The main goal is to bring urban density to an area that hasn’t seen it before,” said Frank Marretti, G2 Capital Development.
Marretti’s company is a driving force behind several projects around campus. University Gateway is under construction now, a joint venture with UNLV.
Before the end of the year, the old campus village will be demolished to make way for more development.
“A lot of what’s on Maryland Parkway needs to go, for the betterment of the community and residents in the community,” Marretti said.
At the same time, Sunrise Hospital is building a new tower along Maryland. The Boulevard Mall is adding a call center and a new movie theater. And the RTC is considering a major new light rail project down the parkway. An environmental assessment should be done by the end of the year.
“Twenty five years ago, it was the place to be,” said Ric Jimenez, Maryland Parkway Coalition.
Jimenez leads the Maryland Parkway Coalition, a driving force in attracting business and people to the area.
“More retail, more experiences. I think there are still to this day iconic places up and down Maryland they’re going to discover as they get older,” he said.
But as the pulse of the Parkway Project found, there is concern the vibrancy and diversity along Maryland could evaporate.
Redevelopment and rising rent has already driven some longtime businesses away.
“They want to stay there,” Gonzalez said. “It’d be unfortunate if this big thing happens and they can’t afford to be there anymore.”