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Public Statements

Recognizing The Las Vegas Spring Preserve Project

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


* Ms. BERKLEY. Madam Speaker, today I urge my colleagues to join me in recognizing the Las Vegas Springs Preserve project, and how this one-of-a-kind interactive, historical and educational facility will forever preserve and sustain the original springs where Las Vegas was established.

* When it opens in June, this $250 million non-gaming cultural and historical attraction will offer a fun, educational and recreational gathering place to commemorate Las Vegas' dynamic history and provide a vision for a sustainable future. The Preserve will feature a series of historic museums, galleries, outdoor concerts, events, an interpretive trail system, a botanical garden and the Nevada State Museum and Historical Society where Nevadans and tourists alike will find a unique, educational experience about the history of Las Vegas.

* Seeking the rich California coast, Spanish traders of the early 19th Century forged a path west that became known as the Old Spanish Trail. Upon discovering a vale of sanctuary, they named it ``Las Vegas''--Spanish for ``The Meadows.'' In the years that followed, the Las Vegas Springs welcomed weary travelers, explorers, traders, settlers and Mormon missionaries--all of them drawn here by one common denominator--water from the springs.

* Enticing many to remain and make use of its waters, land near the springs was purchased by the railroad, which created the Las Vegas town site. It was water from the natural springs that powered the railroads' steam locomotives. In later years, the Nevada Legislature created the Las Vegas Valley Water District. Among the Water District's inherited holdings was the Las Vegas Springs property.

* In 1978, the 180-acre Springs Preserve, located approximately three miles west of downtown Las Vegas, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The site represents one of the richest and most unique cultural and biological resources in Southern Nevada. As the largest commercial straw-bale construction project in the United States, the Preserve is erecting seven new green buildings intended to join an elite list of buildings nationwide that have achieved ``Platinum'' Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

* Today, the Springs Preserve site is still owned by the Water District--a steward of water resources in the Valley for more than 50 years. During this time, human progress has surrounded this timeless plot of land, but operational wells and water distribution facilities saved the site from development. The Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Springs Preserve Foundation have formed a public-private partnership that will serve as a unique model for teaching cultural and environmental sustainability. Beginning next month, the story of the Las Vegas Springs will be told through both guided and self-guided tours, interpretive stations and several museum galleries.

* As the representative of Nevada's First Congressional District, it gives me immense pride to recognize this outstanding and unique educational facility in the heart of my congressional district. With this example of pioneering preservation, sustainable construction and innovative education, visitors to the Las Vegas Springs Preserve will be inspired by what they see and be motivated to implement the ideals of preserving our past, while simultaneously creating a livable future.

* Again, I proudly urge my colleagues to join me in honoring this outstanding public-private educational facility.

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