San Diego, Los Angeles and Denver: These cities, like many others across the country, have been working on revitalizing their downtown areas. There's been work on cleaning up streets and getting rid of crime. There's been a push to attract businesses, create parks and increase entertainment, all in the name of generating civic pride. Las Vegas is now more than a decade into its redevelopment and we'll take a look to see if the city best known for "The Strip" can create a cool downtown residents want to spend time in.
Geoff Schumacher, author and columnist, LVRJ Kristen Peterson, Arts Reporter, LV Sun Richard Worthington, Pres, Downtown Las Vegas Alliance Linda Lera-Randle El, founder, "Straight from the Streets"
anyone who feels safe downtown is an idiot. i know several people who have been mugged downtown while walking to their car after a night of fun. i havent heard of any of my friends being mugged anywhere else in town, including maryland pkwy.Tammi –Nov 24, 2010 22:13:32 PM
My wife and I went downtown a few weeks ago and were approached and asked if we'd like to buy drugs 4 time within fifteen minutes. One guy actually had the coke bags out in clear site. This was on the corner of Las Vegas blvd and Fremont, right under the Fremont East sign. Why aren't there more police in this area where everyone knows there is a large amount of drugs and hookers? I want to go downtown more, but I just don't feel safe enough. I realize there are dangers everywhere, but I've never been so openly solicited for drugs. Oswald –Nov 24, 2010 21:56:05 PM
No one in the show mentioned independent retail, but DT Vegas could benefit by taking note of university areas such as The Loop near Washington University in St. Louis or Hillcrest in San Diego.
Currently, there's nowhere to buy clothes DT except for the premium outlets - which is somewhat removed from the Fremont core, especially for pedestrians - and maybe Saver's thrift store, which doesn't appeal to everyone for obvious reasons.
If there was a concentration of unique, independent clothing downtown stores downtown (think suburban boutiques such as Patty's Closet, Fruition, Buffalo Exchange, Suite 160, etc.) it would make downtown an attractive shopping destination. Las Vegas loves to shop - just look at the success of Town Square, which is not a "downtown" at all, but an "uptown," and furthermore A SHOPPING MALL.
Fremont Street is full of independent bars and a few restaurants, but if it had retail that could transform it into a daytime destination, it would undoubtedly become more popular ... and consequently would become a more viable location for business owners.
A single boutique isn't going to draw suburbanites from Green Valley and Summerlin, but a shopping district undoubtedly would.
So, boutique owners: Move downtown! Dining, theaters and specialty shops will follow. After all, we have to have somewhere to wear our clothes.
Olivia –Nov 24, 2010 11:51:46 AM
I am a native Las Vegan who operates an upscale business in Downtown. We bring guests from all corners of the valley.
The chief challenge I see is overcoming the misconception regarding personal safety. The new salon guests with whom I speak are often quite pleasantly surprised at how "nice" our Downtown is becoming, particularly at new developments.James –Nov 24, 2010 11:13:38 AM
I would love to see some food vendors in the Fremont area... you can get cocktails and souvenirs....but finding a quick bite to eat is hard. I'd be happy with a simple hot dog stand.Laurie –Nov 24, 2010 11:11:18 AM
Having the Children's museum downtown is a great start, but what about parks and other recreation for small children? It seems our tax money for toddler parks and other outdoor recreation goes to the Southwest part of town. The Downtown area of Las Vegas is definitely lacking compared to other parts of the city.Jess –Nov 24, 2010 11:10:21 AM
I moved to LV in 1981 for a job at the LV RJ. I was young and broke. I moved into a residential hotel at 15th and Fremont. I had to walk to the Golden Nugget to get a bus to take me to the RJ.
Things have improved. The bus system is efficient and I am now semi-retired.
Does Las Vegas need an art museum? Yes. Vancouver has one, Cincinnati has one. Cleveland has one. Indianapolis has one. Milwaukee has one and I could go on and on and on. The small space at the Belliago is just a tease and extremely over priced. I admire our mayor but he is dead wrong regarding an art museum. Just imagine if we had a Getty downtown like the one in Los Angeles.
Recently my husband and I were lured downtown by an El Cortez special. We had a fantastic dinner at a reasonable price. After dinner we were pleasantly surprised by the crowd and the activity beyond the awning. We enjoyed music at "Don't Tell Mama" and visited a few more clubs and both remarked "Wish this had been here back in the day." My point is we enjoyed our experience and are both committed to returning and telling our friends. We felt safe and proud that there were fun spots without gambling for people to enjoy.
Nora –Nov 24, 2010 11:09:06 AM
I have had difficulties putting up a late night variety style show in downtown. My experience: it is very easy to pitch a show to a casino on the strip, its hard to find the backing in downtown!benedikt negro –Nov 24, 2010 10:45:15 AM