Las Vegas keeps focus on Cashman as ‘Field of Dreams’ site

Las Vegas city officials are still dreaming about a major-league sports complex within city limits.

High-ranking city staff made a presentation at Wednesday’s City Council meeting on options for downtown’s Cashman Center, which didn’t make the short list of sites for a proposed NFL stadium in the Las Vegas Valley.

Wednesday’s presentation had many of the elements of the city’s stadium pitch to the Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee, including virtual transportation and site access renderings and possible layout options for structures on the site.

Councilman Bob Coffin called an option that included an NFL practice facility and a Major League Soccer stadium with office and training space more realistic.

“It’s something within our reach and something our ambitions can achieve,” Coffin said.

“This seems to be more scaled for the city.”

Coffin and Mayor Carolyn Goodman got behind an idea Wednesday to send a “team” to Carson City for a special session of the Nevada Legislature that will start Monday. Lawmakers will consider an increase in the Clark County hotel room tax to finance $750 million in construction costs for the $1.9 billion domed stadium.

The Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee recommended the stadium plan to Gov. Brian Sandoval, who called the special session. The balance of the stadium’s costs would be funded by the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson. The preferred sites for the stadium are near the south end of the Strip, in unincorporated Clark County.

“Should the project fail at the legislative level, that doesn’t preclude other investors from saying I want to come in and get a hold of this,” Goodman said of Cashman.

Goodman served on the infrastructure committee, pushing for Cashman, the only site within the city that was being considered for the stadium project, to remain in the conversation.

The city previously had pitched a downtown soccer stadium for a Major League Soccer expansion franchise, but the plan collapsed when the league rejected the Las Vegas bid.

The council directed city staff Wednesday to continue to work toward a stadium at Cashman — whether it’s an NFL stadium, a practice facility or a Major League Soccer stadium — and to work with The Howard Hughes Corp. on the proposed move of the Las Vegas 51s, who now occupy Cashman Field, to another site in the county.

One of the issues the city is up against with marketing Cashman is the surrounding neighborhood, Coffin said.

Shelters and other service providers for the homeless population are clustered nearby, and many homeless people stay on the sidewalks in that area. Coffin said the area needs to be cleaned up to be considered for such a large-scale development.

“People know that north of Bonanza (Road) it looks like hell,” Coffin said.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Sheldon Adelson, chairman and CEO of Las Vegas Sands Corp.

Contact Jamie Munks at jmunks@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0340. Follow @JamieMunksRJ on Twitter.

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