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Audio clip from interview with Ricki Barlow by Claytee D. White, April 10, 2013

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In this audio clip from an interview with Ricki Barlow by Claytee White on April 10, 2013, Barlow describes the developments taking place downtown in Ward 5, for which he is the city council representative.

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Ricki Barlow oral history interview, 2013 April 10. OH-00101. [Audio recording] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


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There are a lot of great developments taking place here in the downtown. We've been working very aggressively and deliberately to change the landscape of downtown. It's working out very well for us. We have a number of residential high-rises, as well as the mix-use developments that we're bringing in: lots of retail, commercial, office. We want to make it a spectacular downtown that visitors and residents alike will have the opportunity to enjoy. It's the concept of the "live, work, and play" element that we're creating. Having soft landscape down the medians really softens up the look and makes it pedestrian friendly. But, of course, we are still making sure that all the amenities that will attract people such as yourself who are looking to move into the downtown, are in place. People can walk to those retail shops, the clothing shops, and the eateries, as well as the dry cleaners, the dog groomer, or the flower shop. We want to make a true walkable community in the downtown area. Right now on the books, we're aggressively working to bring in an arena into the downtown area. Let me pause for a moment and say that 80 percent of all the developments that are taking place in downtown are taking place in my ward, in Ward 5. I'm really blessed and honored to be in a position to represent all of these developments. We are changing the downtown landscape from which I knew as a young boy?specifically out in Symphony Park, which was the old rail yard where my friends and I played hide-and-seek, jumping from boxcar to boxcar. A lot of the developments that have taken place out on the 61 acres, from the Premium Outlets?the number-one mall performing in the country?as well as the Clark County Government Center, the Regional Transportation Headquarters, the World Market Center, the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, of course with their immediate partner, the Cleveland Clinic. The Smith Performing Arts Center is currently there, as well as the new Lied. The new Children's Discovery Museum has recently opened, which is a spectacular three-story children's museum, which the entire community is celebrating and excited about. I have to include the Charlie Palmer development, which we're constantly working on. It's a hotel boutique concept that Charlie Palmer is bringing into the downtown, and so we're constantly working and massaging that development in order to see it come to fruition. There's just a slew of individuals that we're speaking to and working with in order to get them online to speed up the process that we're trying to build here in the downtown community. Wonderful. I love the way that you told me where you used to play as a young person. I love that. So tell me more about your childhood and growing up here. I grew up in Clark County, humble beginnings. Both parents worked, and both of them made decent salaries. I don't come from a poor background, but I would describe it as a lower middle-class background. I deliberately state that, because during the 1970s there weren't too many families that made the type of money that my parents were making. They were blue collar workers, but in management positions. They did well for themselves. I had an opportunity to really interact with children that were less fortunate than I, as well as children that were more fortunate than I. I had an opportunity to play on both sides of the track, as a figure of speech. It was a great upbringing. As a child growing up here in Las Vegas, I learned at an early age how to play with other races and cultures. I learned about different cultures by having an opportunity to sleep over someone's house who was white or Hispanic or Asian or Korean. They would sleep over at our house, and we would go fishing, and hiking, and bike riding, and a lot of motorcycle riding. We did a lot of riding motorcycles throughout the desert. We had a very nice fabric of cultures in the community where we lived, and from that standpoint we didn't look at each other as different races. We looked at each other as people. I hold that very close to my heart to this day, because it allows me to communicate. It allows me to interact with various cultures to this day, which has been a benefit of mine. It has allowed me to really build the support around me. The people who support me in this office and throughout the community see a genuine Ricki Barlow. It is genuine, because that's just how I was bred and raised growing up here in the community.