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Cultural sustainability

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“Cultural sustainability”: renewing and maintaining human cultures that create positive enduring relationships. “Sustainability” encompasses more than our Earth, caring for our earth is important. Social, cultural and economic sustainability are very important too.

As with environmental, social and economic sustainability, local government has a vital part in supporting cultural sustainability at the community level. The true essence of sustainability is doing “good.” In order to be effective, we must recognize that circumstances are constantly changing and evolving and thus we must take into account these considerations.

This goes far beyond the isolating tensions created in the intersection of the economy, the environment and social matters. Cultural sustainability transcends these potentially destructive tensions.

There are resources/provisions available that help mitigate these tensions:

1. Resolution 10-32 adopting the Downtown Action Plan.

2. Contract with MainStreet Las Vegas to implement Downtown Action Plan.

3. Ordinance 10-24 authorizing the designation of an Arts and Cultural District.

Technical assistance and tax incentives are available to owners who are preserving/restoring historic properties.

We are asking for a safe, healthy, productive and sustainable environment for all, where “environment” is considered in its totality to include the ecological (biological), physical (natural and built), social, political, aesthetic and economical environments. Environmental justice refers to the conditions in which such a right can be freely exercised, whereby individuals and group identities, needs and dignities are preserved, fulfilled and respected in a way that provides for self-actualization and personal and community empowerment. Acknowledging environmental “injustices” as past and present state of affairs expresses the socio-political objectives needed to address them.

Every old building in Las Vegas adds to the aesthetic, historic and cultural sustainability of our Great City. The greatest attraction of Las Vegas is its ambiance. The Voda Building at the intersection of Manzanares Street and Grand Avenue is to be demolished. We strongly urge the reconsideration of this plan. This attractive stone building was erected shortly after the railroad arrived in Las Vegas in 1879 and originally functioned as a carriage shop. The historic façade has been covered with a conventional storefront. We encourage the development of a plan that would retain this important historic structure. With some creative planning this can be done consistent with the needs of the new owner; in so doing they will have an attractive facility and provide an important example of adaptive reuse of an historic building.

R. E. (Rudy) Laumbach
Citizens Committee
for History Preservation