With the grand dame of Ward 1, Lois Tarkanian, looking on, the crowded slate of candidates vying to replace her met Monday evening to address concerns of residents in the McNeil neighborhood, the area west of Rancho and between Oakey and West Charleston.

The older homes, many on sprawling lots, are just blocks from the expanding medical district, home to University Medical Center and the anticipated future site of the university medical school on Shadow Lane.

With the primary election just a week away and no candidate poised to win more than fifty percent, the field of nine will likely be whittled to two.

The candidates weighed in on whether the medical district should extend west of Rancho to Valley View, a prospect that could place McNeil homes in the shadow of high-rise complexes.  

Jesse Holder, an armed services veteran, says he wants to work with private business to create an environment that’s beneficial for them to come here but “without giving the store away.”

Sherman Ray, a local businessman, says from a planning perspective, the city is “putting the cart before the horse.”

“We need to work on the infrastructure first before we work on the medical district itself. I’ve watched Charleston homes on the north side and the south side being used for office space,” he noted, warning the residents to preserve their neighborhood.

Drew Dondero, a business owner who lives near Alta and Rancho, identified the medical district as “the number one issue we have.”  

“I think the urgency to develop a world class medical district here will provide jobs, and forces us to improve the infrastructure.  None of us want skyscrapers on Charleston, but to bring doctors and nurses here, we have to have the facilities.”

Candidate Robert Blakely, who serves on the Nevada Board of Education, noted that when he was a Nevada regent he voted to bring the medical school to Las Vegas.

“I’m in favor of it.  It will bring a lot more industry into Ward 1 and that will bring prosperity and better medical care,” he said.

Brian Knudsen, a former city employee and candidate who lives in the McNeil neighborhood, noted the lots along Charleston are not large enough to accommodate “major structures, especially on the south side of Charleston.”  

“What the city should be looking at is going north on Rancho. That’s where the expansion of the medical district will be,” he predicted, noting the medical school will begin graduating 120 doctors annually, beginning this year.  

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