Tag Archives: Las Vegas City Council

Las Vegas Gets Cultural Boost: Smith Center to Break Ground

It’s been an especially rough and tumble time for new Las Vegas art and culture developments.   A major boost, though, came on May 6, when the Las Vegas City Council approved the necessary agreements and funding for the long awaited $245 million Smith Center for the Performing Arts. smithcenter

Dreams, with planning, apparently do come true.  The groundbreaking that has been 15 years in the making has been tentatively scheduled for May 26.  The construction on the concert hall and theatre building is expected to be complete by early 2012. 

The Smith Center is to be the anchor facility of the new Las Vegas crown jewel- Union Park, a 61-acre development in downtown Las Vegas on what used to be a Union Pacific railroad yard.   Plans for the center include a 2,050-seat multipurpose main hall; an education building that will house a 300-seat cabaret theatre; and a 200-seat flexible studio theater for rehearsals, children’s theater and community events. 

Projected to create 1,000 new construction jobs, the completed center in Las Vegas will provide a permanent home to the Nevada Ballet Theatre and the Las Vegas Philharmonic. 

Project construction funding is coming from multiple sources: $105 million from city bonds backed by a tax on rental cars; $68 million in bond money from Las Vegas’ redevelopment agency; and $75 million for the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, which is also providing money for an operating endowment. 

No concern was voiced in the Las Vegas City Council meeting about taking on such a large project in the midst of a recession, although the economic slump was mentioned. 

(Please see related Dec. 30, Jan. 14, March 13, and March 20 Las Vegas Backstage Access articles.)

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Chalk up one for Las Vegas ‘Adult Entertainment’ Peddlers

Like it or not, peddlers lining the Las Vegas sidewalks, clicking their provocative handbills, and otherwise hawking adult entertainment promotions to passerbys is a part of our historic, colorful fabric, and, for some, this perhaps adds to our alluring mystique.  After all, we are Sin City, right?   handbills

One can regularly see such peddlers on the sidewalks of the Las Vegas Strip, in front of the Las Vegas Convention Center, and many other places around town.  Almost everywhere except for congregating in original Las Vegas, more specifically the Fremont Street Experience.  

Until now. 

A court ruling recently set aside several Las Vegas ordinances that sought to limit such activities at the Fremont Street Experience.  Of course the laws could be once again appealed, but Las Vegas’ colorful Mayor Oscar Goodman, in his last term of office, said recently that it might be time to let the 12-year-old on and off again lawsuit go. 

The Las Vegas City Council will hear its options at an upcoming meeting, he said, and can weigh in on the merits of appealing the decision, trying to craft another set of ordinances or take some other approach. 

Quickly turning the other cheek, though, Mayor Goodman said Las Vegas would staunchly fight anyone who tried to pass out adult material, such as escort advertisements handed out on the Strip. 

“You don’t want to see one of these situations where a man takes his daughter down to Fremont Street to see the light show and has some smut shoved in his daughter’s face,” Goodman said.  “If they use the same aggressive mannerisms that they do out on the Strip, we’re certainly not going to tolerate that.” 

Glitter Gulch, a leading adult entertainment Fremont Street business, is just a stone’s throw away from anyone walking down those same streets. 

The American Civil Liberties Union was quick to challenge the city ordinances on free speech grounds, arguing that bans on passing out literature and advertising or on setting up tables to promote a cause were unconstitutional. 

The case has been winding its slow way through appeals, revised ordinace and more litigations since 1997. 

In enacting such ordinances, Las Vegas city leaders contend that businesses that rent space or kiosks from Fremont Street Experience LLC, which operates the pedestrian mall, needs some protection again people setting up competing sales operations next door for free.

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