While the end of the year is a chance to look back, it also affords an opportunity to look forward to the new year. There are many exciting and intriguing changes on the horizon for Mesquite in 2016 from the upcoming local elections to new building and business expansions.
There’s more on the 2016 ballot than just presidential and federal elections. Mesquite voters will have an opportunity to decide on city council, water board and power board candidates.
Elections to Mesquite’s city government are changing to new cycles beginning in 2016. The mayoral and council seats have always been decided in odd years from federal elections. That changed in 2011 when the majority of voters said they wanted those seats decided in even years along with presidential, senate, and congressional elections. Mayor Mark Wier and Councilmen George Rapson, Al Litman, and Kraig Hafen were elected in 2011. With the change they all took on a five and a half year term ending in the new year.
The mayoral seat will be up for election in 2016 since current Mayor Al Litman is filling out a vacancy created when former Mayor Mark Wier resigned his seat in 2014. Mesquite has never re-elected a mayor in its 30-year history.
When Litman was appointed to Wier’s seat, Cindi Delaney was appointed to the vacant council seat. Appointments last until the next election. That results in the mayor’s seat and three council positions appearing on the 2016 ballot.
The 2014 election also saw a change to the Virgin Valley Water District Board of Directors that required all five members to be elected rather than having one Mesquite and one Bunkerville representative appointed. Mesquite Board member Sandra Ramaker and Bunkerville Board member Nephi Julien drew the ‘short straw’ in 2014 for a two-year term which expires next year.
Two seats on the Overton Power District Board of Trustees will also be up for election in 2016. Mesquite District #5 seat, currently occupied by Mike Young, and At-Large District #7 seat, now filled by Overton resident Judy Metz, will be on the ballot.
Candidates will file for election beginning March 7 and ending March 18. Early voting will run from May 28 and June 10 with the primary election scheduled for June 14. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 8 with early voting available between Oct. 22 and Nov. 4.
Perhaps the most anticipated business change for 2016 in Mesquite is the scheduled opening of the new I-15 Exit 118 interchange set for June. The $14 million project will open a direct ingress/egress route to the Mesquite Technology and Commerce Center (MTCC) and the west side of the city. It’s anticipated that the interchange will remove much of the semi-truck traffic from the roundabouts at Exit 120 and provide a more direct route to the Mesquite Sports and Event Center during major soccer tournaments.
The area already saw its first major investment with a Travel Center on the drawing board. Mesquite Regional Business Inc. (MRBI) President George Gault anticipates that the interchange will also make the MTCC more attractive to warehousing and distribution businesses. Recent real estate deals in the region support his anticipation.
Rising Star Sports Ranch on N. Sandhill Blvd at the I-15 Exit 122 interchange will give the east entrance to Mesquite a new shot in the arm. The Urban Land Company, owned by the Lee Family that until recently owned the Eureka Casino, is renovating the old Mesquite Star that has stood empty for almost 16 years.
Phase I of the multi-million dollar renovation is scheduled for completion in December 2016. The Ranch is already taking reservations for that timeframe.
Playing off the reputation Mesquite seems to be gaining as a sports destination for the young and old, Greg Lee told the Mesquite Local News earlier that “We are committed to creating the best sporting experience for athletes, coaches, parents and families. In the end, time is the greatest commodity. For a certain number of us, travel teams and tournaments consume a lot of time. What the Ranch is about is creating a place that allows you to make the most of the time you have invested, by allowing you to enjoy the time you have together. ”
Lee is the developer of the Rising Star Ranch and CEO of the Eureka Casino Resort.
“We are going to work hard to make this a special place. Not just a place to train and launch some great star athletes and leaders, but to make some great memories as well,” Andre Carrier, COO of Eureka Casino Resort and Rising Star Ranch said in an earlier interview.
Deep Roots Medical is scheduled to begin sales of medical marijuana at its Mesquite dispensary in the new year. A firm opening date has not yet been set although it has been producing marijuana for sale elsewhere in the state. The dispensary and growing facility that was approved in 2014 occupies a long-vacant building in the MTCC. Eventually the business hopes to employ as many as 100 people.
Years of divisiveness over a three-acre land purchase the city made in 2007 for a new library may come to an end in 2016.
The Clark County Library District approached the city in July saying their fortunes have improved over the last few years and they are now ready to proceed with a new facility. The City Council gave its provisional approval to turning over the vacant land to the District along with the adjacent existing library. The District says it intends to build a new $7 million facility at the corner of Mesquite Blvd and Desert Drive while re-purposing its adjacent facility.
There are other projects and businesses rumored to be in the works around Mesquite. If just a few of them pan out the city will continue its ‘great recession’ comeback with vigor.