The city of Las Vegas just put out a $6.5 million welcome mat.
A virtual ceremony in mid-November dedicated two 80-foot decorative arches at Las Vegas Boulevard and Sahara Avenue, the border with unincorporated Clark County and the Strip.
Some social media commentators questioned the wisdom and expense of the project amid a pandemic and deep recession.
Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, who represents the area, told State of Nevada that while the timing might have been unfortunate, the schedule for completion was decided long ago.
“These projects are being planned years out,” she said. “So it’s not that we just planned for this archway to go in right now in the midst of a pandemic.”
Diaz said the arches are designed to welcome visitors and celebrate urban revival success stories, such as the Arts District.
She also said the city is investing for the future in its $125 million makeover of Las Vegas Boulevard from downtown south to Sahara.
Over the next two and half years, the city and general contractor Las Vegas Paving plan on replacing underground utilities, installing fiber optics and other smart city infrastructure, and making the street more walkable — and shaded, with the planting of 200 trees.
Diaz also said she sees the Boring Co.’s proposed tunnel transit system as something that could ease the travel gridlock from the airport, through the Strip and into downtown.
“I’m definitely keeping an open mind and trying to see the bigger picture of how we get people to and from our airport, into our downtown, into our casinos,” she said.
Las Vegas City Council will be asked in December to give its support to the privately funded project.
Diaz also said she is confident downtown can come back, particularly with the new $1 billion Circa resort acting as a draw.
That optimism was shared by longtime downtown development executive John Curran, senior vice president of development at Dapper Cos.
“The downtown business community is resilient and really looks out for each other in ways I don’t see as much of in other parts of the valley,“ said Curran, a former executive for Tony Hsieh’s Downtown Project. “We’ll get through this, we always do. It’s just a little bumpy path at times.”
Dapper Cos. will begin construction in December for a major remodeling project of an iconic downtown office building on Las Vegas Boulevard at Carson Avenue as well as a new six-story parking garage.
Curran also said he expects the company to complete its acquisition of the 77-year-old Huntridge Theater in early 2021, after current owners settle litigation over the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Olvia Diaz, Ward 3 councilwoman, city of Las Vegas; John Curran, senior vice president, Dapper Cos.
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