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Las Vegas’ first urban central park coming soon to downtown

As Las Vegas officials seek to develop the city’s first urban central park, the City Council agreed this week to a necessary preliminary step: Purchasing the property of a bail bonds business for $2 million to clear the way for the plaza’s construction across from City Hall.

City lawmakers on Wednesday unanimously signed off on buying the tiny .08-acre property presently occupied by Goodfellas Bail Bonds at 513 S. Main St., the last parcel needed in order to finalize the city’s acquisition of the entire block just southwest of City Hall.

The $2.1 million purchase price through the city-controlled City Parkway V, Inc. accounts for the value of the business, which may not be able to relocate elsewhere since it requires a privileged license, according to Bill Arent, the city’s director of economic and urban development.

Officials stressed that the cost to acquire the Goodfellas property will be covered by City Parkway V, which acts as the city’s real estate holdings company, and not through the general fund affecting taxpayer dollars.

“I don’t want folks to think that we’re taking away from much needed programs in our community but it’s actually coming from a very specific account that is not the general fund,” said Councilwoman Olivia Diaz, who represents Ward 3, where the central plaza project is planned.

Park highlighted in report

The project was most recently highlighted in the downtown civic space and trails master plan in August: A central park that features an entry monument, public gathering area and multi-purpose trail that will link to nearby attractions within walking or biking distance.

“Given the typical daily influx of workers and visitors into the core area, (the) park will likely attract office employees during the daytime, residents in the evening, and visitors during weekends and holidays,” the report said.

At a planned minimum size of 1.5 acres, the park is expected to serve as a place for public and social events for music, art and fitness and could include benches, bike racks and storage, a bike rental station, restrooms and a cafe, according to the report.

It is also expected to have lighting, shaded seating and a wayfinding system and incorporate elements of local history and natural character, the report outlined. Specific plans will be drawn with the aid of a design consultant.

“I’m excited about us completing the area here across from City Hall,” Diaz said. “I think it’ll definitely bring an area that hopefully our community can enjoy down the road.”

Construction could begin in 2021

Arent said the purchasing agreement with the owner of the bail bonds property making the deal official will come before the council on July 22. And he estimated the city would issue a request for proposals, soliciting a developer on the public-private project, within the next 60 to 90 days.

Once the city has secured a developer, Arent said he believed construction could begin within a year. In the meantime, the city will consider using some of the block for parking to support City Hall and visitors to downtown.

Contact Shea Johnson at sjohnson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0272. Follow @Shea_LVRJ on Twitter.

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