Concrete plans

The Pittman Wash in Green Valley is that harmonious blend of form and function so rare in these parts. It serves as both a pathway for floodwaters from the south to Lake Mead and an asset for those who value nature untrammeled rather than subdued. At the bottom of it are paths that take walkers into stands of native flora such as the acacia and creosote bush, and on the sides are popular bike and walking trails that get you off the streets and out of danger of imminent death at the hands of inattentive drivers. It’s the kind of urban development that makes you realize our built environment didn’t have to be so sterile.

In the eyes of Henderson city officials, however, it’s an inadequate drainage channel waiting to be overrun by a big flood, putting the suburbs built along its sides at risk. To prevent that, they are planning to replace a half-mile section of the wash between Valle Verde Drive and Arroyo Grande Boulevard—where cattail wetlands now flourish thanks to a natural spring—with concrete. The result will have all the aesthetic appeal of the Los Angeles River.

Project Green, the local group that has worked hard to improve the wash over the years, has collected more than 700 signatures of residents opposed to the idea. They’d like to see some alternatives on the table. Henderson officials have held several meetings, the latest one July 13, to hear concerns. But it feels like an exercise in futility. The city plans to start bidding on the $4.5 million project in a few weeks, and the with the cost picked up by the Clark County Regional Flood Control District there’s no one cranking about how it will break Henderson’s budget.

So look for another bit of nature to disappear under a layer of concrete soon.