‘Winslow Park’ residents feel concern, happiness over $37M relocation remedy

Naoka Foreman
Naoka Foreman
June Johnson stands on a patio that cracked and had to be filled in with rocks at his home in the Windsor Park neighborhood in North Las Vegas on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. (Daniel Clark/The Nevada Independent).

Residents of North Las Vegas' Windsor Park neighborhood, or Winslow Park as it is commonly called, gathered Wednesday to raise questions and concerns — but also express satisfaction and resolve — that a bill to put $37 million toward relocating them from the sinking neighborhood becomes law next month. 

The remedy was authorized through SB450, or the “Windsor Park Environmental Justice Act,” sponsored by Sen. Dina Neal (D-North Las Vegas), which allocates $12 million from the state housing division and $25 million in coronavirus relief dollars to develop homes nearby. 

“I thank God that we have a praying community,” said Nancy Johnson, 67, an original Windsor Park resident, as she opened the Wednesday night press conference inside Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church. “And I want to thank Mother (Annie) Walker for making all those phone calls to everybody to keep us all together — so we can fight this thing.”

For decades, Windsor Park residents have lived in bleak housing with hazardous living conditions, including broken doors unable to lock, slanted houses and bursting pipes, after the groundwater was removed, causing subsidence. This led city leaders to seek $14.4 million in federal funding for home repairs or relocations in the 1990s, but the spending has been hard to track, with leftover dollars returning to North Las Vegas’ general fund every two years and records only dating back to 1999. The efforts have never been enough to solve the issues.

The community, located northwest of Carey Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, had dwindled from 242 homes to 90.

“We're here because we needed to finally close the Winslow Park story with justice,” Neal said at the press conference about Windsor Park.

The bill also requires the land — an accumulation of private and publicly owned desert lots, with a small mixture of vintage and blighted homes — to be converted into a state park that will commemorate the story of Windsor Park, which was a lively, historically Black neighborhood after it was built in the mid-1960s during segregation in Southern Nevada, but hollowed out in recent decades. 

Neal told a crowd of more than 60 people crunched inside a back room at the church that it was a challenge to get the bill to Gov. Joe Lombardo’s desk, and that he originally refused to sign once it passed. She said he was convinced to approve the remedy after learning that local environmentalists and the UNLV William Boyd School of Law worked on four years of research about the neighborhood. 

“The governor vetoed 75 bills, and he was going to veto this one,” Neal said of SB450. “And he signed it on June 16.”

Lombardo’s spokesperson, Elizabeth Ray, said Thursday in a statement to The Nevada Independent that he has “continued concerns about the feasibility and implications of the legislation itself, but he believes it’s important to support the residents of Windsor Park and give the program a chance to succeed.”

Residents are hopeful

Some people who spoke shared concerns about the new remedy but the majority of the crowd leaned toward feeling satisfaction and resolve.

Neal said the first part of the program is seeking a developer through a request for proposals process that will start July 1, and that the relocation of the 90 remaining residents will likely take at least a year to complete because homes will be constructed one-by-one, focusing on a single beneficiary at a time. The Nevada Housing Division will acquire the beneficiaries’ deeds of trusts and liens will be paid off as part of the deal, she said.

People who are renting homes in Windsor Park will fulfill their lease agreements in the new homes to avoid eviction. 

Neal said there also is a stipulation that bars homeowners from selling the replacement house for five years, which was added by way of an amendment, and that further action might have to be taken on an ordinance that prevented volunteers who took advantage of the previous relocation program from passing homes down if an accident occurred that killed the homeowner.

“My family, they're all excited because we never wanted to lose this property, nor do we want to lose this neighborhood,” said 35-year-old Marvin Holliday Jr., who inherited a home in Windsor Park in 2020, at the meeting Wednesday evening after learning of the remedy. “For me, it's exciting because now I have property, and possibly something [sufficient] that I can pass on to people that I leave behind.”

His grandparents, Billie G. Miller and Doretha Miller, purchased a Windsor Park home around 1966 but both had died by May 2020, which left him with the property. Holliday said part of the home is raised with a jack to keep it level and that cracks in the ceiling, floors and ground have gotten worse since he was in high school in 2002. 

Deneatra Reed, 48, said she is happy about the remedy because buying another house was too expensive for her 69-year-old mother who owns a paid-off home in Windsor Park and lives on a fixed income. Reed's only concern is matching the land her mother owns.

“She worked hard for that little bit of land,” she said. “And I’m just hoping and praying that it’s land for land.” 

Neal said developers will build each home on 6,000 square feet of land and that beneficiaries will choose how much of that land the house occupies.

Reed said the relocation plan will mainly help seniors, and noted that over the years she witnessed the death of many residents, followed by their homes being reduced to dirt. She also said she was pleased to know that the land will be converted into a park rather than used for warehouses because it gives generations something to come back to and say “I lived over there.”

“I'm hoping they give us time,” Reed said about relocating from her mother’s home, which sits high on the hill in the neighborhood. “I want to do the last year's Fourth of July bang up there.”


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