F Street reopening project to begin in June - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

F Street reopening project to begin in June

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LAS VEGAS (FOX5) -

Four-and-a-half years after its controversial closing, construction is set to begin on the reopening of the F Street underpass.

In September 2008, the community was walled off as part of an I-15 design project.

Residents claimed racism, saying West Las Vegas was purposely being shut off to traffic.

"To close this off from the main affairs of the community, especially downtown, it was a slap in the face," said local church leader Bishop Leon Smith.

The community banded together, held meetings and marches and worked their way through the political process to get the thoroughfare reopened.

"The community decided that they were not going to be blown off, that they were going to move forward and persevere," said community activist Shondra Summers-Armstrong. 

The project will cost around $16 million, $10 million from the city and $6 million from the state.

The hope is it sparks a revitalization to coincide with downtown's growth.

"We're gonna be on watch and take care if it just like it's a child," said resident Trish Geran. We'll baby-sit it, and make sure everyone is comfortable around here, and make sure this product has a lot of nurturing. We want to make sure this develops and represents the community once it's done."

"Our area should not be noted for crime and dope," Smith said. "We have a lot of good people in our community, and good must override the evil."

The project will also include elements that will celebrate the history of West Las Vegas.

Construction is set to begin the first week of June and should be completed by the end of 2014.

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