LAS VEGAS - Unemployment is one of the biggest challenges facing Ward 5. Across the city, unemployment stands at 5 percent. However, it rose to 15 percent in Ward 5.
"The days of just putting up two pieces of plywood and sheet metal and putting some paint on it are long gone," said Ward 5 City Councilman Cedric Crear.
Councilman Crear wants nothing less than the best in his neighborhood.
"I'm a product of this environment. I was born and raised here in the heart of the west side," he said. "I still live in the house that I grew up in."
Crear is working to bring in more than a billion dollars in construction. It's a move he believes will reduce unemployment.
"We're launching something called Ward 5 Works, which is going to be a multi-tier initiative that is going to get people from the ward working," Crear said. "The Stevens Brothers announced that they're going to build a big hotel called Circa in Ward 5. We're excited about that."
Details of the planned casino-resort that will rise along the casino-flanked Fremont Street were announced in January. The owners are promising amenities that include a stadium-style sports book, multi-tiered pool amphitheater, and a two-level casino.
The property's hotel tower will be the tallest building north of the Las Vegas Strip. Besides Circa, the World Market Center is also expanding in Ward 5. The project will add 200,000 square feet of expo space.
"The city is participating with tax incremental financing. So, they've been a great partner," said Bob Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers. "The way that works is, essentially -- they give some of the taxes we pay back to us an incentive for building it and in return, we're paying the competitive wage rates. We're trying to recruit from the local community."
Construction is expected to bring in almost 600 jobs.
"We need to start getting some shovels in the ground, "Crear said. "We need to get some cranes over in the west side. We need to ensure that people from Ward 5 have opportunities to work."