Alex Gonzalez, Public News Service
After a drawn-out struggle, the remaining 90 homeowners in the sinking and predominantly Black neighborhood of Windsor Park in North Las Vegas will be relocated to new homes – now that Gov. Joe Lombardo has agreed to sign Senate Bill 450.
The bill will provide qualified homeowners with a new house of the same size in North Las Vegas, pay off their mortgages, and allocate $50,000 each in restitution to cover various expenses.
The bill’s primary sponsor is state Sen. Dina Neal. The Las Vegas Democrat said the bill liberates a total of $37 million, which will be used to construct the new properties.
Neal said passage of the bill is not about payback, but rather justice.
“The governor signing the bill was nothing short of a miracle,” said Neal. “He vetoed 75 bills, and he was going to veto this one.”
Neal said she is thankful to Gov. Lombardo for changing his mind.
She added that Lombardo decided to approve the measure after learning about the research environmentalists and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas William Boyd School of Law worked on for years.
She said the first part of the program is seeking a developer through a request for proposals process that will begin Saturday.
The relocation process of the 90 residents will likely take a year to complete.
Coordinator for the Nevada Environmental Justice Coalition Cinthia Moore said residents sharing their personal stories really put a face to the issue, which Moore said was crucial for the bill’s passage – especially as lawmakers are used to hearing from lobbyists on a daily basis.
Moore said she is pleased SB 450 secured the necessary support from legislators, and ultimately the support of the governor.
“The suffering that these families have endured for years is proof that environmental injustice has been impacting communities of color a lot more than other communities,” said Moore, “and it is only now that something is being done to save them.”
For decades Windsor Park residents have lived in homes that have been damaged by the sinking ground because the community was built over geological faults and an aquifer.
This article was originally published on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons License