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Historic Kiel Ranch site in North Las Vegas to become park | News

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Historic Kiel Ranch site in North Las Vegas to become park

NORTH LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- North Las Vegas officials are marking the start of more than $2 million worth of construction on a new park at one of the first settled spots in the Las Vegas area.

A groundbreaking ceremony took place Wednesday at Kiel Ranch Historic Park -- a seven-acre site surrounding an ancient spring north of Carey Avenue between Losee Road and Commerce Street. The site is part of an original 240-acre homestead that historians say was settled in the mid-1800s by Conrad Kiel.

The neglected area around the site has become overgrown with weeds and and infested with trash. North Las Vegas officials say it's time for a new beginning for the historical site.

"It's been here for years and years, and decades and decades, and if you didn't know it was back here you wouldn't know," said City Councilwoman Pamela Goynes-Brown.

The land is home to Nevada's oldest building -- an adobe structure dating back to the 1800s. The area also served as a settlement for Mormon missionaries and a dude ranch for people seeking a fast and easy method of divorce.

"It's got such a rich history, especially when you get into and research the wild west period," said Johanna Murphy, North Las Vegas principal planner.

North Las Vegas took over the site in the 1970s. Talks of creating a public park have been ongoing for years, but nothing went through until now.

"It firmly embraces our views of a park as a gateway to a healthy, prosperous and a connected community," said North Las Vegas official Cass Palmer.

The park will feature a new visitor's area, along with preserved historical sites -- an artesian pond and an old shed known as the "doll house".

"It's a walking classroom. There's so much history in this parcel right here so I think it's very important we preserve and keep it maintained," said Goynes-Brown.

Construction will happen in four phases. The first phase is set to be completed within a year.

Funding is coming from Southern Nevada Public Lands Management Act and Land and Water Conservation Fund grants.

The park name is pronounced "Kyle." It's on the list of the National Register of Historic Places.

Artifacts unearthed there suggest it was a gathering spot long before Mormon missionaries arrived.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.